Rwanda: Media to get self-regulatory board

Regulation & Policy

Media practitioners and experts exchanged views on the Rwanda Media Self-Regulation Board, which is to be established to protect, defend media practitioners’ rights and monitor the professional dissemination of information.

Local Government Minister James Musoni explained the government has tried to promote professional journalism in Rwanda given its importance in the country’s development. “We know the importance of the media in socioeconomic development of a country, and the media work better if they have the right to regulate themselves”, he said.

Musoni observed that the basis of regulation is to protect people involved in the dissemination of news as well as consumers of the news and the public in general, and pledged the government’s support for the establishment of the self-regulatory board.

Christrophe Kayumba, who represented the team which conducted a research to identify the board’s working guidelines and framework, emphasized that it will be successful if every media house and individual journalists get involved.
Board membership will be compulsory for accredited media practitioners and it will be government-funded for the first three years. Media practitioners however emphasized the need to become self-reliant instead of depending on government resources since, they argue, this threatens the board’s independence.

Robert Mugabe, a journalist who contributed to the design of the board, said it will also act as a first point of recourse for complaints. “None will go to the courts without passing through the board. If the complainant is not satisfied with the board’s decision, he can appeal and eventually proceed to the court,” Mugabe explained.