The future of Rwanda’s media is bright given government efforts to improve journalism in the country, the Executive Secretary of the High Council of the Media, Patrice Mulama, has said.
Speaking to The New Times Tuesday on the sidelines of the just concluded media conference at Serena Hotel, Mulama said that plans are underway to shift the school of journalism from the National University of Rwanda in the Southern Province to Kigali. He cited the fact that it is where most journalism practitioners are located and operate from.
“We are discussing how best we can shift the school of journalism from the university to Kigali, and there is also a regional journalism school that will hopefully open soon plus the media support fund we are planning to set up,” Mulama said.
Noting that Rwandan media is another sector investors have not explored saying that investing in it will make the sector flourish.
“Rwandan Media is one of the virgin areas financiers have not yet explored. We have shared this idea with the government. Government also believes that if investors come and invest in the media, this will improve the standard of journalism,” Mulama said.
Admitting that journalism in the Great Lakes Region lacks a lot in order to be vibrant and fully professional, Mulama said that the media has potentials that financiers could trap.
He also noted that investing in the media would overcome most challenges that go with capacity to human resources, which were largely discussed in the conference.
During the conference, the first gathering of its kind, participants expressed their distress at the lack of financial resources.
One participant from the DR Congo noting that Kinshasa journalists have faced constraints to report what is happening in the Eastern Congo because they needed US $ 5000 to be raised for two visual/electronic reporters.
The conference’s main objective was to promote sustainable, professional and responsible media, strengthening and expansion of media freedom in the countries of the Great Lakes Region.
This was a follow up of Article 33 of the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration where member states committed to promote an independent and responsible media in the Region.
Member states also agreed to adhere strictly to the UN Charter, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s rights as well as all relevant international and Regional legal instruments (Article 15) that include those related to Press freedom, freedom of expression and rights to information.
The conference was organised by the Media High Council and International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).