The New Times (Kigali)

30 October 2011

Rwanda: 'Respect Our Duties' - Scribes Ask Police

Media owners and practitioners have appealed to the National Police to avoid disrupting their work.

This was highlighted Friday during a one-day consultative meeting organised by Rwanda National Police (RNP) to share knowledge and discuss the role of media in community policing.

Journalists observed that police uses the media to disseminate information, but surprisingly, sometimes reporters are at times obstructed from carrying out their duties.

"When police arrests a suspect, they immediately call for a press conference for the nationals to know about it but when a journalist calls a police officer for a comment on some issues, they tend to be adamant to respond I think we have the same responsibilities and we need each other," Florent Ndutiye, a journalist with Radio 10.

Jean Pierre Habimana, an editor with Amazing Grace Radio noted that for police to successfully operate, it needs the media, saying that there is no need for conflict between the two since their shared vision is to serve the nation.

Speaking to The New Times, Theodore Ntarindwa, president of the forum for private newspapers commended police for the initiative that would help them iron out any differences that may exist between the two entities.

"There are many issues that we need police to respond to; sometimes our cameras and other gadgets are confiscated by police and we have nowhere to report therefore, I think this is an opportunity for us to discuss and reach a common solution for our problems," said Ntarindwa, who owns Umwezi newspaper.

Opening the meeting, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Stanley Nsabimana, said the Police and media are one of the pillars of development, adding that the forum is a good opportunity to debate and understand each other.

"As our duty to make people living in Rwanda feel safe, involved and reassured by being accountable and proving quality services, we have always called on you as our partners and we thank you for your support," he said.

"The trust and confidence Rwandans have in the police is a result of community policing and it has resulted in crime prevention and reduction strategies, and we appreciate the role media has played in this endeavour," he said.

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