Poll coverage goes hi-tech

KIGALI - For the first time in the country’s broadcasting history, Rwanda Television (RTV) yesterday broadcast Parliamentary polls live from four upcountry areas using the Internet Protocol Teleconferencing technology.
Executive Director RITA, Nkubito Bakuramutsa.
Executive Director RITA, Nkubito Bakuramutsa.

KIGALI - For the first time in the country’s broadcasting history, Rwanda Television (RTV) yesterday broadcast Parliamentary polls live from four upcountry areas using the Internet Protocol Teleconferencing technology.

The technology which was deployed by the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA), could be adopted for future TV coverage activities, according to the Director General of the Rwanda Information Office (ORINFOR), Oscar Kimanuka.

Government-owned RTV was able to transmit voters’ views and correspondents’ comments live from polling stations in four districts of Rwamagana, Huye, Musanze and Karongi. The commentators from upcountry were also able to interact with their hosts in the television studios in Kigali.

The move is considered as a milestone step in using the technology potential in boosting different services in the country.

“This is an exciting step that showcases how ICT can contribute toward good governance and transparency in the democratic process. We are very grateful for having worked with the Rwanda Television crew to make this happen and we are looking forward to strengthening and providing more innovations and solutions in different aspects,” said the Executive Director of RITA, Nkubito Bakuramutsa.

He added that yesterday’s coverage of elections on RTV was ‘a demonstration of how convergent technology can be used to enhance the broadcasting industry and create a complete digital media based on modern technologies’.

The coverage was also enabled by the NEW ARTEL’s bandwidth, VSAT network, as well as portions of Rwandatel’s fibre optic technology.

Officials from ORINFOR, an institution that manages the country’s public media outlets, said that the technology boosted their election coverage yesterday and that it could be adopted by the public broadcasting service.

“We have got very good response from people,” Kimanuka said, adding, “What we have achieved is enormous.”

He also said that the technology was cost-effective and far less expensive compared to deploying an observation van to the field with a number of people to operate it.

Meanwhile, RITA is already installing this type of technology in all public institutions to enable video conferencing of meetings and to avoid the burden of traveling from one place to another to hold meetings, its officials said.

The agency plans that by November 2009, governors in the country’s provinces will be able to meet through video conferencing with all their mayors.

King Faycal Hospital, Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) and Central Hospital of Butare (CHUB) are all interconnected with a video conference system that helps specialists, young doctors, and students in these hospitals to consult each other.

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