Saturday 8 August 2020
Home      All news      Contact us      English
newtimes - 1 month ago

Kwibohora26: Solidarity among media managers,practitioners will take the sector to the next level

The 1994 Genocide against Tutsi brought Rwanda to her knees. In the eyes of many people, including Rwandan themselves, reconstructing the country was a dream that was not easy to realise.  However, due to the visionary leadership of the new national leaders and the determination of the people of Rwanda to rebuild their country, Rwanda rose from ashes to become the current respected nation. This turnaround has been witnessed across the board. The media sector was not left behind. President Paul Kagame has repeatedly underlined the significance of the role of citizens in achieving sustainable development. This has been the case even during the current times of the Coronavirus pandemic. “As always, we will overcome these difficult times, through solidarity and working together. This will require the discipline Rwandans have always shown in confronting challenges and getting good results,” the President said on Twitter just after the country had reported its first Covid19 case in March. This solidarity and collaboration has been reflected in the media sector as well. And it will continue to be critical for the sector’s development. The country’s media sector has come of ages 26 years since the liberation and end of the Genocide against the Tutsi. For the uninitiated the media fanned the flames of hatred and violence in the run-up to and during the Genocide. As a result, the media lost public trust and confidence and post-Genocide media practitioners and other stakeholders needed to put in a great deal of effort to reverse the trend. In 2013, media freedom of expression (without censorship), pluralism and diversity of the media was at 71.5 per cent before increasing to 81.3 per cent, according to the Rwanda Media Barometer 2018. Since 2011, a comprehensive set of media reforms was rolled out. It began with the 2011 Media Policy, then the enactment of various laws in 2013 and the setting up of institutions to support the development of professional, independent and financial self-sustaining media sector that serve the needs of the public.  The results of the Rwanda Media Barometer of 2018 indicate that media freedom, freedom of expression and independence have been deepened and the profession has now been fully liberalized, allowing Rwandans of different walks of life to establish and run media businesses. Additionally, reforms have allowed for easier access to information (for public interest) since it is sanctioned by law. This has resulted in considerable improvement in various aspects.   Over the last couple of years, an improvement equivalent to 21% has been registered. The indicator scored 76.4% in 2018, and 55.2% in 2013. Cases where journalists are denied information by public officials have diminished tremendously and, where they have been reported, the matter is swiftly resolved by the two parties or reported to the Office of the Ombudsman for intervention.  The level of public trust in the media, the overall performance of public trust in the media has surged to 75.3% (in advocating for citizens’ complaints). On professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpin freedom of expression indicator, professional capacity building was rated at 51.9% in 2013 by the Rwanda Media Barometer and it increased to 59.4% in 2016 and later 68.4% in 2018. The findings of the Impact Assessment of Media Reforms, published in 2019, highlighted the satisfaction of beneficiaries by confirming that Media High Council provides training that is relevant to their needs at 78.8 per cent.   However, although a lot has been done to develop the country’s media sector, there are still some challenges that prevent the industry from performing at its full potential. Indeed, media activists have pointed out that, without adequate human and financial resources, the sector won’t be able to play its role in influencing national and regional transformation. While it is true that Rwanda’s media has come of age, some sector practitioners and managers say that there is a lot still to be done for the industry to match the transformation witnessed in other sectors which have grown at a fast rate in the recent past. For instance, there are still skills gaps that need to be addressed in media business management, specialized reporting as well as in tapping into advantages of new technologies and operating sustainable business. In addition, Rwanda’s media practitioners need to maximise various opportunities that were put in place to be able to play an active role in developing their respective media outlets despite the current obstacles, including the dire impacts of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, they are compelled to come together as sector colleagues.  To achieve that, they must forge a common understanding on what their collective vision as a sector is. As rightly observed by President Kagame in September 2015, “Rwanda’s achievements have shown that with determination and the right mindset we can transform our nation.” And the media is no exception. Media managers and practitioners will need to change their mindset and decolonise their mind. There are examples – even within the sector – to draw from. For instance, recent experience when media practitioners came together to establish Media Development Fund (MDF). This home-grown initiative can even inspire other stakeholders to scale up their interventions in the sector. This can and should be replicated in other aspects of the sector. The writer is Executive Secretary, Media High Council. The views expressed in this article are of the author.


Latest News
Hashtags:   

Kwibohora26

 | 

Solidarity

 | 

among

 | 

media

 | 

managers

 | 

practitioners

 | 

sector

 | 

level

 | 
Most Popular (6 hours)

Most Popular (24 hours)

Most Popular (a week)

Sources