A delegation from the Rwanda Journalists’ Association (RJA) is, this week, scheduled to meet a Senatorial committee to present their case for the decriminalisation of defamation.
If the Law is amended, it will not only help in ensuring confidence to prospective investors in the media industry in the country, but will also spell doom to falsehoods peddled about Rwanda by detractors and a section of the media.
Despite all the developments, mostly championed by government, others by practitioners themselves to ease the working environment of the Fourth Estate, there are those who still seek to portray Rwanda as a place characterised by lack of freedom of expression.
The senate should, therefore, treat the Journalists’ request with the utmost importance it deserves because this will help bring the media to the same level with other development initiatives in the country.
However, if granted, practitioners must not abuse the freedom. Once libel is decriminalised, it should not serve as an excuse for the media to infringe on people’s rights, as has been experienced in some sections of the media industry.
Journalists should endeavour to maintain the highest ethical standards required of them.
Fora that were put in place by journalists should constantly be vigilant to ensure that the instrument is not misused and practitioners remain professional.