However much journalists have the right to express their views just like any other citizen, the profession’s ethics tend to limit them.
The Ethics of Journalism totally discourage dressing up in colours of political parties or party T-Shirts during political campaigns. The act yields aggression from the opposing side hence the upshot is not good.
Article 34 of the Rwandan Constitution promotes media freedom and law No. 18/2002 of May 11, 2002 governing the press elaborates on how this media freedom is exercised.
Journalists themselves have set up a code of ethics, which highlights the dos and don’ts in regard to media practice.
The fact that journalists are the ‘eyes and the ears’ of the public means that if they portrayed the side they support during elections by dressing up in colours of political parties or T- Shirts would be defying public interest value.
One has to consider other people’s feelings. A member of the opposition would be offended if a journalist covering elections is dressed up in the opponent’s political colours.
The act totally proves that even in reporting the journalist will not be objective.
According to Article 19 of the African Charter, journalists, editors and publishers shall remain constantly aware of their responsibilities to the general public, serving the truth inherent within culture, upholding and preserving the respect and prestige of the press while remaining accountable to their peers and listeners, viewers, readers by performing to their best abilities and belief.
For safety purposes it’s not appropriate for a journalist to dress in political party colours in case of victimisation by the opposition, when he or she is dragged into a scuffle.
In fact there are those circumstances where journalists think wearing T-Shirts with ‘Press’ or ‘Media’ is a ticket to safety, it must be pointed out that sometimes journalists are targeted precisely because they are from Media hence they should be alert.
It’s the media‘s duty is to cover the elections (electoral reporting) in a fair, accurate, objective, balanced manner, ensuring that all competing parties are given access to electoral issues and ideas accorded to sufficient prominence, voters’ rights to receive sufficient and accurate information and the rights of the competitors to deliver their messages so as to win support.
Therefore any act contradicting to the above like dressing up in a political party’s colours would totally be professionally unethical.