KIGALI - A committee set up by journalists to spearhead reforms within the media sector has said that, so far, the process is running smoothly with a number of milestones reached.
Part of the media reforms include amending and initiating several laws to facilitate journalists’ work and establishment of a media self-regulating body that will be made up and administered by practising journalists.
Addressing media managers and editors, the Executive Secretary of the High Council of the Media, Patrice Mulama, said that the reforms aim at promoting greater freedom and responsibility amongst media professionals, improved access to information and recognising that the media is an essential part of development.
“Since the reforms began, a communication strategy has been developed to ensure that all stakeholders are updated on the progress.
A media reform secretariat was set up in the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and so far, donors have pledged financial support to the secretariat,” Mulama said.
Mulama added that the process to establish a media development index is underway and once complete, it will help in monitoring and measuring progress in media development in Rwanda.
Other progress made so far include the initiation of Access to Information Bill, which was approved by the cabinet on June 30 and adopted by Parliament.
On the same date, the proposed amendment of the media law and the law governing the High Council of the Media were approved.
Part of the reforms will see Rwanda Information Office (Orinfor) turn into a public broadcasting agency.
According to the acting Director General of Orinfor, Willy Rukundo, the proposed changes within Orinfor will ensure objectivity and protection of public interest.
“The Rwanda Broadcasting Agency will be accountable to the general public and not only to the government. Structures will have to change and the head of the agency will be appointed by the board, not the government as has been the case,” said Rukundo, who is also a member of the committee charged with drafting the media reforms.
Regarding the establishment of a self-regulatory body, the amendment of the code of ethics has been finalised and will be printed and circulated soon.
Speaking at the same meeting, Ignatius Kabagambe, the Director General in the Prime Minister’s Office, said that journalists need to have solidarity in pushing for the quick realisation of the reforms.