What makes a journalist? Is it a Degree? Is it just being able to publish stories? To many people, a journalist is the person behind the latest news and insights, to others he is the nagging fellow at the end of a line begging for comments while to some a journalist is an enemy of the best kept secrets.
Many journalists spend their lifetimes struggling to find their role in the world and in trying to define how the profession they are in affects not only them but other people.
Common Wealth Association, a journalist capacity building organisation, recently held training in Nairobi in hope of rehabilitating journalism and redefining it to face its past failures and to structure the future that will allow people to trust the media and its players.
This is so timely especially in a time like this when the media continues to fall prey of outsider pressures.
At some point in the early 90’s, journalism lost its meaning in Rwanda. It was right about this time that journalism as a profession was abused and used to spread hate messages.
This period was termed as the greatest betrayal of the profession. Well, ever since, Rwandan journalists have been fighting this past in an aim of rehabilitating the profession by trying to report responsibly and accurately.
Recently, the Media Bill was passed by Parliament allowing journalists to practice in a better environment than before.
The Government of Rwanda portrayed its dedication to improve the field by passing on clauses that protect the journalist while giving them freedom to practice. Freedom does indeed come with responsibility. The media must keep in mind that their words have power to heal or kill.
Journalists in the country must now rise and join hands in giving a new face to the media.
This will be done by committing to responsible reporting, by commitment to the ethics that guard the power given to them and by reporting news accurately in the hope of rebuilding peace and prosperity for the new Rwanda.
The fight for more freedom of press continues but the fruit of the fight lie in the good practice of what is available for journalists now. It is a case of ‘to those who much is given much is expected’.
There is hope that with integrity and dedication to ethical guides, journalism will be born a new in nobility and it will stand in the gap as it was always meant to.