Reporters Without Borders Grossly Distorts Situation in Rwanda

Responding to the Reporters Without Borders 2010 report, Protais Musoni, caretaker Minister overseeing the Ministry of Information, said:

“The Government of Rwanda values responsible freedom of speech and is committed to developing a vibrant and responsible media and promoting professional journalism.

We welcome partners in media development, including Reporters without Borders, to Rwanda to see for themselves the reality of the media environment and to work with us in building capacity in this sector.

Reporters Without Borders’ report bases its conclusions on unverified and grossly distorted accounts of the political situation here.  Those conclusions, therefore, are not an accurate reflection of Rwanda’s true media environment.

Independent observers didn’t find the “climate of terror” described by Reporters Without Borders when they were here during the August elections. On the contrary observer teams, including the Commonwealth Observer Group, said the elections were  “conducted in a peaceful atmosphere… Campaign freedoms were provided for candidates, and they enjoyed freedom of movement and assembly in the conduct of their campaigns” (2010 Rwanda Elections – Final Report).

Reporters Without Borders fails to explain why two tabloids were suspended for six months. Both publications repeatedly failed to adhere to media law. Their reporting was ethnically divisive, in the manner previously seen in the lead-up to the genocide in 1994, and damaging to the efforts towards national reconciliation.

There is absolutely no basis for Reporters Without Borders to allege that the Government of Rwanda was responsible for Jean-Leonard Rugambage’s murder – his killers were apprehended, have confessed to the revenge killing related to the 1994 genocide, and are currently on trial.

END

Contact:

Ignatius Kabagambe, director general ikabagambe@gov.rw +250783008764

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