Media have the right not to report about police ‘parades’

Editor, Allow me to react to Sunny Ntayombya’s article, “Police needs to ‘arrest’ the parades” (The New Times, August 27).
A Uganda-born woman with a UK passport was arrested with cocaine, worth millions of Francs, at Kigali International Airport,  last Saturday. File.
A Uganda-born woman with a UK passport was arrested with cocaine, worth millions of Francs, at Kigali International Airport, last Saturday. File.

Editor,

Allow me to react to Sunny Ntayombya’s article, “Police needs to ‘arrest’ the parades” (The New Times, August 27). I agree 100 per cent that the Police ought to refrain from sensationalism. I would have understood it if it was a private firm parading something or the other to attract attention, clientele, publicity...but this is the national police.

What’s the aim of these parades? What do the Police gain from them?

We already know that our police are doing a good job protecting us. Why on earth do they need to show us a suspect who is crying for a lawyer? Perhaps we should have been hearing from the lady’s lawyer stating her side of the story.

Something is not right here and I call upon the Police to revisit this practice.

Niwe, Rwanda

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It is not uncommon for the Police to want to show their success; they have after all caught big fish. I dare say however, let’s start with the media professionals as it would probably be the press clamouring for the Police to “show the suspect”.

No one forces the media houses to film the suspect or plaster their faces all over the front pages of the newspapers or sing about it all day on radio. If the media stopped doing this, the Police will have a limited channel and will in time discontinue this practice.

There is another way this would stop; let those found not guilty sue the Police for defamation, character assassination and what not; after a couple of hefty fines, the Police will surely think twice about this.

I am not against naming and shaming once someone has been proven guilty after due process has been observed.

Martin, Rwanda

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What’s wrong with the Police parading a suspect? I don’t seem to understand your argument. If someone is being suspected of committing a crime, then the law enforcers have the right to expose that person.

The writer should perhaps be able to give us any reference in the Rwandan law that possibly prohibits police from parading any suspect. This is done even in the USA and Europe.  

FM, Rwanda

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Mr. Ntayombya touched a sensitive subject that the average journalist would rather let go. Thumbs up from me.

The Rwanda National Police is a people’s police accountable to taxpayers like everyone. I am of the opinion that besides for the writer to exercise his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression, this article does not tell us much.

An interview with a senior government civil servant, preferably a CID officer, explaining the raison d’être of this approach, a quote from the Rwandan criminal law, the national constitution and international criminal law, would have given readers a more balanced piece.

And, finally, journalists have the duty to protect the next suspect from being paraded before the press prior to their trial.

Daoud, Central African Republic

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