On November the 7th , Rwanda, amongst other countries of the African continent , celebrate the press freedom day . This day was lastly celebrated in 2008 . Most of the african countries do not celebrate this day , importance given to the International press freedom day celebrated on May the 3rd.
THE FREEDOM OF PRESS , WHAT DOES IT MEAN ?
It is the right to freely search , reach and broadcast news , without fear of consequences .
HOW DID THE AFRICAN PRESS FREEDOM DAY WAS IT INITIATED ?
The initiative came out after complaints that the developped media houses of Europe and America described Africa as a continent of conflicts , wars and problems, ignoring the progress made by Africans.
The African countries then started a common press office to work as a platform to broadcast the news of a developping Africa . It is the same idea that generated the Africa press freedom day.
IS THE RWANDAN PRESS FREE ?
Rwanda is ranked among the worst in terms of freedom of press. This is due to Paul Kagame and RPF totaritarian and dictatorship political system . The laws concerning press are made to opress and terrorise journalists , who work in fear to be jailed or killed.
According to the recent RSF (reporters without borders ) report , Rwanda is ranked 161 over 179 countries where the inquiry was made , and ranked on the bottom list of the East African countries , where Tanzania is the 70th , Kenya the 71th, Uganda the 104th , Burundi the 132th and D.R.CONGO the 142th .
WHAT IS THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE RWANDA PRESS ?
As long as RPF is still on power , the future of the freedom of press is surely in trouble . The president Paul Kagame , in his speech to Rwandan day in 2015 in Netherlands said there will never be debate in Rwanda , in any way and any matter.
The future of the freedom of press in Rwanda cannot hope any improvement when the journalists are always threatened of jail or death whenever their articles are proved to be against the will of the government dictotarship line. Most of them were compelled to exile ; the list is long : Charles Kabonero (UMUSESO), Gilbert RWAMATWARA (IBIHWIHWISWA), Bonavanture BIZUMUREMYI(UMUCO) , Charles INGABIRE(killed in Uganda) Innocent MUGABO (Family TV), Jean Bosco GASASIRA (UMUVUGIZI), Valens HABIYAMBERE AND Lucie UMUKUNDWA(VOA), Fred MUVUNYI(Rwanda Media Council) who was threatened after a serious conflict opposing him to RGB about the report on the freedom of press he made for the Belgian Consulate . Considering these victims and so many other journalists living in fear in Rwanda, we can say that the situation of the freedom of press in Rwanda is worsening .
We can conclude that the way to free press in RWANDA is still long , as long as the government has the last word in the broadcasting organs .
Frank Steven Ruta