Rwanda’s Minister of Information has called the recent report on press freedom by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) biased. “The report is biased; these people don’t understand the reality of our countries. Our government is committed to press freedom and we’re committed to a legal press environment,” Louise Mushikiwabo said in a phone interview with The New Times.
According to RSF, the survey was compiled by sending a questionnaire to its 15 freedom of expression organisations partners throughout the world, to its network of 130 correspondents, and to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The questionnaire contained 50 questions about press freedom in their (participants’) countries. According to the report, the worldwide index covers 169 nations and because of lack of data, some countries were not included. It places shows that Rwanda improved by two places in 2007 to position 145 this year.
Safari Gaspard, President of the Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), dismissed the report saying that it is not professional. “Last month, we had a meeting of the East African Media Associations comprised of 11 countries. They all dismissed the report as being more of political than professional nature and that’s our position.”
Speaking to The New Times, the Managing Director of Contact FM, Albert Rudatsimburwa, said that the report is not realistic and fair. That it’s more controlled by the West, working for political interests. “Look at its structure and how it was founded. It’s the same game going on, only changing colours. I can’t accredit the report and I don’t believe in what these guys are doing,” Rudatsimburwa underscored.
According to the High Council of the Media (HCM), Rwanda currently has 17 radio stations and 30 registered newspapers with different editorial lines. Online information is not controlled, and newspapers publish whatever they want while some radios broadcast live without editing the information.
(Source: The New Times, Kigali)