14 April 2010

Rwanda: Umuseso, Umuvugizi Suspended

Kigali — The Media High Council (MHC), has handed two Kinyarwanda tabloids; Umuseso and Umuvugizi, a six-month suspension citing violation of the media law and inciting public disorder.

The decision to suspend the two publications, according to the Executive Secretary of MHC, Patrice Mulama, came after realizing that various warnings to the two media houses were constantly falling on deaf ears.

"We have tried to engage the two media houses on several occasions, but they have acted stubbornly and have shown no will to change from their unprofessional way of doing things," Mulama said.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the chairman of the board of the Media High Council, Arthur Asiimwe, said that the decision was taken by the council after unearthing many professional mistakes not in conformity with media ethics in the country.

"These two publications violated article 83 of the Media Law, especially the third and fifth clauses of the article," said Asiimwe adding that most of the articles produced by the two tabloids since January this year have been full of fabrications and were provocative.

He added that the stories were also highly opinionated and were aimed at inciting disorder and a state of fear within the public and the army.

"They mix news and opinions which shows unprofessionalism in their reporting," said Mulama.

He quoted some of the highly contentious articles in Umuseso whereby the author was calling upon high ranking officers of the Rwanda Defense Forces to rise up and fight the President.

Others, according to the officials, were constant allegations of a coup d'etat in the country mainly published in Umuseso.

"Such publications may incite fear which may eventually lead to the decline of foreign investments in the country for fear of instabilities which are all fabrications," said Mulama.

"This kind of journalism cannot be tolerated in the country and this decision is going to serve as a warning to anyone who thinks that they can do such inciting acts and get away with it."

He called upon the enforcing organs which include the police to ensure that the decision is implemented with immediate effect.

Mulama said that Umuseso and Umuvugizi have the right to challenge the decision in courts of law.

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