Rwanda: Journalists celebrate Africa Day of Information

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Rwanda journalists, on November 7, celebrated Africa Day of Information by reflecting on past achievements and calling for more initiatives to ensure their financial sustainability and their role in achieving Agenda 2063.

The event was organised by the Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) in collaboration with Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and the active support of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) under the theme: “Media Development and Sustainability”.

The celebration will be concluded with a ceremony to award the winners of the 10th edition of the Development Journalism Awards 2023.

The celebrations, at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village, are held amidst a media policy revision, with a key pillar to be presented by the local government ministry.

Rwanda Governance Board will also present findings on media financial sustainability assessment.

Emmanuel Habumuremyi, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ), said celebrating African Day of Information is a moment of immense pride as it underscores their commitment to journalistic excellence.

“We are proud of the relentless efforts of Rwandan journalists who have consistently upheld the highest standards of reporting, thereby contributing to the development of our society.

“Their stories not only inform and educate but also illuminate the rich cultural heritage and values of Africa. Today, we also celebrate the power of the free press in shaping a positive narrative of Rwanda and Africa on the global stage,” he said.

He said there are some projects aimed at empowering journalists.

“These include capacity-building leading to professionalism and specialisation, advocacy for policy media change, solidarity fund among ARJ members, and others,” he said.

Rene Anthere Rwanyange, a senior journalist and Managing Editor at Panorama Media house, suggests that media practitioners, policymakers, experts, and academia should come together on Africa Day of Information to assess the journey, discuss achievements, experiences, challenges, and the way forward in the media sector.

“There are laws but they should not remain dynamic in this time of digital era. They should be aligned with it to strengthen our profession. More effort is also needed to ensure journalistic ethics are complied with. The issues of journalists suspected of violating ethics should first be handled by journalist institutions such as Rwanda Media Commission before they are taken to courts,” he noted.

Rwanyange said there is a need for increased collaboration with both public and private institutions.

“There is not yet financial sustainability among journalists and media houses. That is why we need the funds for media at lower interest rates. The fund should also be insured. We need journalists’ cooperation and the government can even intervene in supporting these initiatives,” he said.

Placide Ngirinshuti, the head of Rwanda Journalists for Sustainable Development (RJSD), reiterated that while journalists commend that there are laws governing media, “the access to information law is still ignored by authorities.”

“The law never established penalties for those who refuse to provide information. There should be penalties,” he said.

The New Times

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