Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Rwanda’s Media Law, Upholding Democracy, Human Rights

Rwanda’s media law, upholding democracy, human rights
Democracy and human rights are core universal values that rely on, among other things, a vibrant free media. But such a media must be enabled to grow in order to be more responsible and functional. Rwanda has taken the right step towards empowering the media by adopting law to ensure full media access to information and self regulation.
To ensure free practice, the new law states in parts: “…every journalist has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the right to seek, receive, give and broadcast information and ideas through any media.”
This is in line with the Universal Declaration of Human rights article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
For the public in Rwanda, this is an enabling environment to be informed as the media exercises its right to access to information and express ideas freely.
Kibibi Kalisa, a resident of Kacyiru sector Gasabo District in Kigali City, had praises for the new law: “I like listening to various radio stations, and there is no day that passes without tuning on my small handset for some news. I’m glad to hear that the new law gives more room for the media,” he commented.
In exercising their rights to access information, media houses will are covered by the same law, in Article 9, that states: ‘limits to freedom of opinions and information [and]… censorship of information is prohibited.”
With this free access to information, Rwanda is now assured of an informed society that can exercise their rights and express their opinion.
The media also talks of about regulation of the media’ where the daily functioning of the media and the conduct of journalists is to be regulated by the media Self Regulatory Body.
To ensure social order, the new media law directs that the available freedom of opinions and information “….shall not jeopardise the general public order and good morals.”

Kigali government has repeated its intention of developing the media environment, while being “sensitive to the country’s past…,” as observed by James Musoni,  Minister for Local Government.
The minister also insists on media environment that is responsive to the present and able to keep the society accountable. “….working to deliver a better future for Rwandans” Minister Musoni added.
With the new media, Rwandans are up to enjoy  human rights and democracy through a vibrant media that has free access to information but takes into account its social responsibility of developing the nation.


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