Governance board in media reforms awareness campaign

The Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has embarked on a campaign to sensitise private and public institutions to understand the core principles of the recent media reforms.
Prof. Shyaka wants media laws observed
Prof. Shyaka wants media laws observed

The Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has embarked on a campaign to sensitise private and public institutions to understand the core principles of the recent media reforms.

The reforms have seen the Access to Information Act, Media Law and the Media High Council (MHC) gazetted.

The Access to Information law guarantees access to information in possession of the State and some private institutions, while media law lays the ground for self-regulation with  print media self regulating entirely, while the broadcast media will partially self-regulate.

Previously, the media was regulated by MHC, a government body.

However, the new MHC law scales down the mandate of the institution to solely focus on capacity development of the media sector in the country.

“The media reforms should be the basis of improving the media environment and facilitate journalists to do their work in a conducive and comfortable manner,” Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the RGB chief executive officer, said yesterday at an awareness campaign meeting.

Cooperate with the media

He called upon public and private institutions to implement the media laws and cooperate with the media fraternity to exercise their rights to report accurate, reliable and balanced information.

However, Shyaka stated that media self regulation doesn’t mean lack of regulation by the State, but allowing the media sector to do the work in a flexible manner without any hindrance.

More than 90 countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of access to information legislation with only six in Africa. Rwanda is the seventh.

According to RGB, the awareness drive has been carried out in almost all the provinces in the country. It involves meeting government officials, private sector, members of academia, journalists, among others.

Robert Bimenyimana, the communication specialist at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said public authorities should be fully sensitised to respect the media.

“Rwanda’s media industry will take a step forward once the reforms are implemented and journalists are able to regulate themselves without government’s intervention,” Bimenyimana said.

At the forum, journalists were called on to report facts about the country.

 Brig. Gen.  Joseph Nzabamwita, the military and defence spokesperson, said media reforms are crucial to every Rwandan.

“It’s good to have a self-regulatory media but journalists shouldn’t abuse the initiative, but be irresponsible in executing their work, saying irresponsibility can be dangerous to the country’s development,” Gen. Nzabamwita said.

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