One of the local tabloids carried an insulting and provocative story during its issue that was released Monday. The story compared the political landscape of this country under the leadership of President Paul Kagame to that during late Juvenal Habyarimana’s fascist regime.
In the front page story, it juxtaposed the pictures of President Paul Kagame and Juvenal Habyarimana and posed a question; “Are Kagame and Habyarimana Twins?” It went on in a very narrow and simplistic comparison to draw infuriating conclusions that Habyarimana’s despotic regime achieved a lot more than that of the present leadership.
In a more exasperating and manipulative thinking, the tabloid listed Habyarimana’s achievements in the political, economic and social spheres and penned down unimaginable conclusions that Kagame’s leadership was living in the shadows of this legacy.
However much one would want to be a critic or a detractor, any sane person needs no services of a magnifying glass to appreciate the miraculous journey that this nation has undertaken over the past 15 years.
To say this nation is worse off under the leadership of President Paul Kagame than it was under Habyarimana, is not only being naïve and myopic, but also concludes that the author of such a piece deserves the urgent attention of psychiatrist.
To insist that the leadership of President Kagame has committed more acts of human rights abuse than that of Habyarimana is not only an affront to this nation but rather intended to re-write history.
Much as we in the media demand a free hand in whatever we pen down or broadcast, this independence should not be taken for granted. Our core mandate of informing, educating and entertaining our readers or listeners must match high standards of professional conduct.
And this cannot be attained through manipulating facts or pushing a biased political agenda.
Journalism is not an island of itself. We live in society that is guided by laws and regulations. Therefore blatant disregard for the rule of law by some sections of our fraternity is something that we must condemn in strongest terms.
These insensitive actions by some within our media allow the public to question the credibility of our work especially when the views of the individual media outlets are biased and tainted by narrow political trappings.