On Thursday the Ministry of Information transferred most of the regulatory powers to the Media High Council (MHC). It was reported during the handover that the objective is to facilitate efficient management and regulation of the media.
The move makes the MHC a stronger regulatory authority. The media environment in the country requires such an authority that will ensure the flourishing of a professional and free media.
As Rwanda continues on the path of development, focusing on Information and Communication Technologies, new media is also gaining a foothold in the country, as is in the rest of the world.
The emergence of new media is fast overshadowing traditional journalism as we know it, enabling citizen journalism and multiple sources of news.
This presents opportunities for development of the media and at the same time a challenge to the regulatory authority. It is evident that new media is open to abuse.
Rwanda’s history of the role of media in the Genocide against the Tutsi is well documented.
Hate media was used as a channel, by a government intent on wiping out a section of its own population, on the basis of an ideology that had been taught over the years.
This history, and the spread of the new media, necessitates the existence of a strong regulatory body with the capacity and necessary technology to promote professionalism and a constructive, progressive free media environment.