Today, the world marks Press Freedom Day, under the theme, 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers, with the aim to reaffirm the fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age.
Indeed, the advent of the new media has ushered in new patterns of communication thriving on new platforms, mainly social networks.
Individuals who are not necessarily journalists are increasingly finding it easier to express themselves to the rest of the world.
This could have far-reaching implications on the public opinion, since such information sources may not necessarily conform to the basic principles of journalism.
Yet the role of the new media will become all the more important as internet gets more accessible, faster and reliable.
With a rapidly changing communication landscape, governments will need to be more open with information, and to steer away from practices that inhibit media freedom.
In Rwanda, where mainstream media remain more influential compared to the new media, commendable steps have been taken, lately, to not only ensure a more vibrant media sector, but to also accelerate the internet penetration the recently completed fiber optic roll out, countrywide.
Such initiatives as media self-regulation, the ongoing process to enact access to information law, as well as the review of the media law in response to journalists’ demands, represent giant strides taken towards transforming the country’s media industry.
Nonetheless, media practitioners and owners must be willing to make the most of these reforms by improving in all aspects of their profession.