The third National Media Dialogue that kicked off yesterday will be vital in addressing various challenges and “weaknesses” still prevalent in the country’s media industry.
This was said by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumurenyi, as he presided over the opening of the two-day dialogue. He noted that the industry is still dogged by low levels of professionalism and lack of investment.
The dialogue attracted policymakers, media practitioners and national and international experts on media issues to chart a way forward for the industry that has over the years been lagging behind other sectors of the economy.
“This sector continues to be plagued by lack of professionalism. Some of our journalists use their independence and open media environment in ways that stand in contrast to the democratic ideas for which they claim to fight,” said the Premier.
He expressed optimism that the more investors seize opportunities to open up business-oriented media outlets, the more some of the recurrent hurdles would steadily find solutions.
The National Media Dialogue was first held in 2009 to help enhance the local media by bringing together well informed and experienced minds in the industry, to discuss problems and forge ways to solve them.
This year’s dialogue will, among others, assess achievements since the current media reforms were introduced.
Delegates will also discuss increasing developments registered in the ICT arena, including the laying of the fibre optic cable, which, if well utilized, could boost investment in the industry, according to Media High Council.
The Premier also gave a recap of several initiatives recently undertaken by the government to prop up the media industry. They include a number of media-related draft laws currently before parliament, including the Access to Information Bill, and laws transforming the organisational structures of the Media High Council and state broadcaster, ORINFOR, among others.
The Prime Minister further reiterated that the government was in the process of setting up the Office of the Government Spokesperson that would be charged with dissemination of information concerning public administration.