Today, Wednesday the 7th November 2018, Rwanda joins other African countries to mark the Africa Day of Information. The event took place in Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village under the theme “Africa’s Transformation: The role of Access to Information”. The theme was chosen in a bid to raise awareness on the importance of the Access to Information in the transformation and development of the continent as enshrined especially in Agenda 2063.
Local journalists, international journalists, media partners, stakeholders and Government Officials were present on the spot.
In her opening remarks, Dr Usta Kayitesi, the Ag. Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board, RGB said that as Rwanda’s governance is people-centered, they strongly believe that Access to information is a key driver as it facilitates citizens’ participation policymaking process, decision-making and holding leaders accountable.
The Minister in The Office of The President, Judith Uwizeye who officiated the event, says the access to information empowers citizens to exercise their rights and contribute to good governance. It should be respected in institutions.
Discussions were centered on Reporting Africa: Access to Information- Challenges and Opportunities and on the Role of media in shaping Africa’s transformation.
Peacemaker MBUNGIRAMIHIGO, The Executive Secretary of Media High Council who was in a panel discussion said there is improvement in Rwanda’s media development ,especially when it comes to the access to information as Rwanda adopted the Access to Information Law and leaders provide information to journalists comparing to the past.
He added that there is improvement of media content even if there are still some challenges for media capacity building. “It requires a lot of financial means to deploy journalists to the field”. In their plans, institutions should include the budget for media. That budget can contribute to the media empowerment and facilitate journalists in their work. “
During the Celebration of the Africa Day of Information, the Rwanda Media Barometer 2018, 3rd Edition was released. It presents the state of media in Rwanda, identifies gaps and devises measures to address them.
It indicates that the economic development levels and infrastructure capacity to support independent and pluralist media,” earned 72.4%, compared to 71.0% in 2016. There has been general improvement in access to modern technologies, migration from analogue to digital broadcasting and use of ICT for gathering and dissemination of information.
The RBM 2018 revealed that the Professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpin freedom of expression stands at 68.4 % compared to 59.4% in 2016.
Minister Judith, commended RGB for the recommendation of the media barometer to put in place saving and credit schemes to support media development. She also noted that the Government is willing to support such schemes.
The celebration of Africa Day of Information coincided with the annual Development Journalism Awards 2018.
Prepared by Ezechiel MBANANABO
Ag. Public Relations &Communication Officer