Commentary

Can Rwanda journalism be shaped?!

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By Robert Mugabe

editor@greatlakesvoice.com

At most times for any good thing or any positive aspect to ever take formidable shape in any part of an institution or world, there must be its primitive beginning.

This is the exact confusing  factor of change and henceforth development that must be open handedly appreciated and learnt on in Rwandan journalism; journalism that has been associated to crimes against humanity at a time and a medium that needs drastic change.

Time magazine, the world’s appreciated oldest news outlet -1776, had disturbing primitive beginnings in humble America as a post card, today it is the world’s best seller communiqué.

This is not a simple lesson but now a principle.

It is the basis upon which most news papers in the Great Lakes region and in, particular, Rwanda are, hardly, taking formidable shape. Shape has to do with structuring suitable working environment- laws, relevant editorial lines, appropriated offices accommodation, consistent capacity building and good un-scribbled news output.

And any contradicting efforts rendered in this endeavor are the actual cause of all misunderstanding including complaints that a media house shut down for scribbling and defaming a person, excuses that some outlets must do their business in briefcases as they struggle to build financial capability to expand, persistent need of professionalization and lack of appropriate readership; reason that some media board members must be actively employed journalists or explain their terms of duty.

Principally, this is a major battle in any growing industry and in a developing country only 16 years from a horrific Genocide. When Ishema news paper scribbled and in the long run defamed the head of state, it was all blown out and over stated to encapsulate that even the punitive measures would not be implacable. It reached an extent that even some media members pointed out the disciplinary committee as being too lenient and some wanting to make Ishema and its proprietor a national issue.  This is not any shocking surprise in an industry whose political radical news outlet Umuseso, Umuvugizi, Umurabyo suffered suspensions for either defamation or scribbling against their agreed editorial lines.

Some proprietors or editors in chief are behind bars for that or ran to safe havens. One board member is of currently puzzled about whether journalism should become a medium of simple travel to the greens or be strictly governed by tougher measures.

Measures that would include things like expelling a journalist or outlet for defamation or for doing fast business in their bags. This is in little of or no regard of the actual financial shape of almost all private outlets which can barely afford paying their employees but print regulary.

Definitely, lead members of the Media High Council (MHC), Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ), all have to urge for unprecedented and therefore implement overwhelming efforts to create a better shape for their day to day career and business, sometimes forfeiting some relevant qualities in media development.

But the media laws must be kept in the grin of journalists’ eyes to thwart any writings that would be analyzed as relating to inciting any aspect of Genocide or its ideology and thus defaming journalism in Rwanda.

This will be one fundamental quality for complete self regulation and professionalization. The atit in constructive endeavors engaging most and almost the entire media should not crowd good practice.

Good lucrative readers of most newspapers compared to the news they like to buy could at times be regarded as a stimulation for scribbles, perhaps-some people insist, are at instances backing such out puts.

The whole hounding is not about how to construct greener opportunities in journalism than what must be the green lighting ahead. Enacting drastic regulations would in the long term contravene accepted and appreciated media professionalism and decline print industry.

It is up to practicing journalists to bridge the gaps in the profession, but not intruders or PRs who come at time of troubles to generalize and attack the professionals in mistake only aggravating the situation.

the write is a Rwandan Journalist based in Kigali.

This post has already been read 3869 times!

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