The New Times (Kigali)

27 July 2011

Rwanda: Private Newspapers Forum Suspends Ishema

A local publication Ishema was yesterday suspended for six months by the Forum for Private Newspapers (FPN), after it published an article that ridiculed the person of the President and undermined the government.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Theodore Ntarindwa, president of the forum said that the paper was suspended following the owner's apology over the publication of the slandering article.

"We would have taken a tougher decision on his paper but when he apologised to the forum admitting that the piece was blasphemous, we decided to suspend his paper for a period of six-months," he said.

Ntarindwa added that the article was lifted from another newspaper without attributing it to the source which is against media regulations.

Fidele Gakire, the proprietor of Ishema newspaper acknowledged his mistake.

"I am going to apologise to the President and the nation in writing as what my paper published was so offensive," he noted.

Gakire, who blamed his editorial team for failure to assess the article's consequences before it was published, added that the punishment could have been more lenient.

"The penalty is too heavy for me to bear but I hope after completing the punishment, as a member of the forum, we shall find ways to reduce such penalties," he said.

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