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Government pledges continued support for media self-regulation
Kigali, 5 December 2014
Media practitioners, government officials and partners in the media sector have come together for the sixth National Media Dialogue. The meeting deliberated on how the media can increase professionalism, make the sector more viable as well as play its role in the country’s development. The focus of the dialogue was assessing the impact of the two-year-old media reforms.
Opening the dialogue, Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, explained that the government has worked to provide an enabling environment that promotes a vibrant media sector. He highlighted the self-regulation reforms as one example.
“Media self regulation is now functioning, thanks to joint efforts between the government and journalists’ associations. I would like to assure the media fraternity of unwavering government support for as long as it takes for the Media Self Regulatory body to stand on its own,” Minister Kaboneka said.
The Minister also mentioned other key media reforms including:
Revising the mandate of the Media High Council to deal with developing media capacities, rather than regulating the media
Changing the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency from a state to a public broadcaster
Enacting the Access to Information Law, making Rwanda the 11th country in Africa to put in place such a law
Speaking at the event, Fred Muvunyi, the Chairman of the Rwanda Media Commission, acknowledged that Rwanda’s media sector is developing.
“We can pride ourselves that in Rwanda today, we have a conducive media environment though there is still much to do,” he said.
Theodore Ntarindwa, Head of the Forum of Private Newspapers, also underscored the development of the sector.
“We are happy that, for the first time in Rwanda, we are regulated by a media law that came from our journalists ideas and media is flourishing under self regulation of media”.
Auke Lootsma, Country Director of UNDP in Rwanda, hailed the progress media has registered and promised continued support to deepen reforms.
“The media sector in Rwanda was transformed to attract investment. We believe investing in media is investing in democracy and we will continue to do so,” he said.
The National Media Dialogue is an annual meeting that discusses various topics ranging from profitability of the media sector, enhancing professionalism, effective enforcement of ethical standards, the role of the media self-regulatory body and positioning Rwanda as a business and investment destination for the media sector.