For the last six years, access to information for journalists is still a problem, despite the improvement as Rwandans, in general, come to understand the presence of Access to Information law.
Without access to information, journalists are left to speculate leading them to the production of unsourced stories which in turn have compromised the credibility of the media in Rwanda.
Thanks, to the Rwanda Governance and the Office of the Ombudsman in the tireless efforts to promote Media sector in Rwanda and Access to information in general.
Despite, the ignorance of the law by some government officials, NGO’s, there are other sources of information available to the journalists including the websites, companies home pages that have all the information needed and it is easy to judge communication strategies of public bodies by simply examining their websites.
In 2013, Rwanda Media Barometer indicated that the media performance rating was established to be 60.7%, improving to 69.6% in 2016, a growth that has been attributed to several reforms that were introduced in 2013 but of which ripple effect has continued to impact the media landscape over the years.
Of the recent, Rwanda Media Barometer shows that the media performance is rated at 72.4%. However, the report indicates that “a system of regulation conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media,” had a slight decline from 82.2% in 2016, to 81.3% in 2018.
John B Mayiga, UN, delegate, while speaking yesterday at the world international Day for Universal Access to Information Dialogue held in Kigali, emphasizes that in this digital era, information is a vital element of the citizen’s daily lives. So the mechanisms put in place by the governments to facilitate access to information should functional and effective.
The meeting officials, CSo’s, international organizations to discuss on the awareness of the Access to information Act.
According to the Media High Council, Executive secretary, Peace Maker Mbungiramihigo, free media and citizen journalism is taking root in Rwanda.
He said the fact that media is changing the face and no longer the existence of the ‘print monopoly’ there is a need for the media owners to set dynamic strategies for them to sustain and out-compete the social media platforms.
Mbungiramihigo, cites, the economic constraints as the major problem hampering the access to information when it comes to movement inside the country or abroad and professionalism in general.
However, Eugene Kwibuka, a veteran journalist and Public Relations Officer, says, access to information depends on the skills of the journalists. “Some journalists refuse to give ID’s when they are asked for their identifications which prompts the conflicts between and government officials,” he says.
According to the Access to Information Act, Art. 3 Every person has the right of access to information in possession of a public organ and some private bodies. Therefore, the law is not reserved for journalists but every Rwandan is granted a right of information for his or her interest and society in general.
However, journalists are favoured by the law since they are in daily dealing with the information search.
The Express News