Laws and Regulations



Media Policy in Rwanda

According to many experts, well-practiced media comes fourth after the Legislative Power, the Executive power and the judicially. 
In this regard, many people admit that when the media operates properly, it fosters sustainable development by informing the people about what takes place in their country and all over the world, hence giving them the opportunity to know what is beneficial and what is not. Besides, it enables them to contribute toward the country’s development and promote their own welfare. 
There would not be social welfare without peace, or when there is no security for the people. This means that media must play a key role in promoting peace above all. In order to achieve all these objectives, media needs well structured guidelines; otherwise media would turn into a devastating weapon. For instance the media that played a destructive role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. 
Of course, media played an important role in the April 1994 genocide, however; Rwanda was among countries that signed and committed themselves to implementing the International Human Rights Conventions in general and those promoting freedom of the press in particular. 
Here are some major points of the conventions:
- Article 19 of the International Human Rights Conventions, states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.
- Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights states that “Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law”.
According to Article 11 of law n° 18/2002 of 11 May 2002, governing media the freedom of the press can only be breached if it goes against the provisions of this law and the International Human Rights Conventions which Rwanda ratified.
Therefore, it is clear that when freedom breaks laws it becomes a source of trouble in the country. There is a need for a media policy that promotes freedom, respect for laws and helps in strengthening the nation, promoting social welfare, democracy, in line with country’s main concern as stated in the “vision 2020” 
This was also reiterated when Rwandans approved article 34 of the Constitution voted on 26 May 2003. That article asserts that “Freedom of the press and freedom of information are recognized and guaranteed by the State. Freedom of speech and freedom of information shall not prejudice public order and good morals, the right of every citizen to honour, good reputation and the privacy of personal and family life. 
It is also guaranteed as long as it does not prejudice the protection of the youth and minors”. After the media failed and destroyed the society, Rwanda needs a well-planned media policy, so as to prevent media from being used to destroy the country once again.