Rwanda media say no to hate media on World Press Freedom Day Celebration

Kigali, May 6, 2016, at the Serena Hotel, The Media High Council (MHC), The Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), UNDP, the Association of Journalists (ARJ), Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and other media development partners hosted a one day regional dialogue titled ‘Turning the Page on Hate Media in Africa’. The event marked the World Press Freedom Day which celebrated by the media fraternity in Rwanda and worldwide on May 3, 2016.

Key speakers from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda shared their country experiences of combating hate media and meeting the challenges posed by the surge in online platforms where hate speech is freely exchanged. Speakers were representing prominent organizations with experience of monitoring and preventing hate media in the region such as CNLG, Africa Media Initiative, La Benevolencija, the Ethical Journalism Network as well as key media persons and researchers.

While officiating the event on behalf of the Minister- MINALOC, Prof.Shyaka Anastase said that the Government of Rwanda with the support of development partners will continue to build the capacity of media in order to be the best in serving the purpose of a free, professional, competitive, profitable and vibrant media sector.

Participants especially media owners, journalists and media development stakeholders exchanged ideas on how best the challenge of hate speech in the media can be resolved on the continent and also make fresh commitments to turn the page of hate media by launching a unified campaign.

This dialogue is an annual furtherance of the first one held in 2014 where commitments were made to combat hate speech in the media and the Kigali declaration signed. The event will be an opportunity to share ideas on the progress made since then and the challenges that still remain.

The event draw together about 200 people drawn from government Institutions, local, and regional media practitioners and experts, local civil society organizations, local media owners and managers, training and academic institutions in the media, and members of the diplomatic corps.

About World Press Freedom Day

Every 3rd May since 1994, the media fraternity, civil society, international community and general public throughout the world celebrate the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

This day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, and is an occasion to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.