Rwandan media has no choice but to get organised

Yesterday, members of the Rwandan media fraternity gathered in Kigali to mark the Africa Media Day.  Participants took stock of the state of the industry, and made proposals designed to help take the sector to the next level. The event came at a critical time, just months after the government decided to end statutory media regulation and to replace it with a self-regulation framework spearheaded by the professionals themselves.

Yesterday, members of the Rwandan media fraternity gathered in Kigali to mark the Africa Media Day.

Participants took stock of the state of the industry, and made proposals designed to help take the sector to the next level.

The event came at a critical time, just months after the government decided to end statutory media regulation and to replace it with a self-regulation framework spearheaded by the professionals themselves.

It also comes when the Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) is at a critical stage of transforming into a trade union, a move that is designed to make the fraternity stronger and more relevant.

Rwanda’s media industry is not short of difficulties, some of them stemming from lack of clear business strategy on the part of most media owners, and a professional capacity gap in the majority of media outlets.

Nonetheless, the sector is bracing itself for a major paradigm shift, thanks to the ongoing far-reaching policy reforms across the sector, and the anticipated entry into the market of new actors, which will generate more competition in the industry.

Amidst all these developments, however, there is need for the practitioners to own all these processes and endeavour to develop their sector.

It is critical that media houses learn to operate as business ventures, always striving to break-even to sustain themselves, while upholding professional standards.

The media must re-evaluate themselves, and work in solidarity so as to collectively and constructively engage other stakeholders.

It is only through vibrant media movements that local journalists can advance their interests, including the current push to decriminalise defamation.

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