Rwanda: Local Media Urged to Collaborate

11 November 2019

Media houses and journalists have been advised to work together in order to confront the challenges that they face amidst insufficient human and financial resources.

The call was made on Friday during the celebrations of the Africa Information, which took place at Kigali Convention Center.

On a panel discussion moderated by Diana Mpyisi, a Media Consultant, experts discussed the quality of journalism in Africa and how to financially stay afloat in the digital space.

They emphasized that good content, creativity and cooperation are sustainable ways for media to become financially self-reliant.

"We should stop seeing journalism as a homogenous block. Pushing for good content and boosting partnership, which is still an issue, will help in addressing financial issues," said Roukalya Kasenally, the CEO of Africa Media Initiative.

However, MHC Executive Secretary said that; "Government and other concerned institutions need to work closely with the media and deliver on what they could to strengthen the industry."

Collin Haba, the Managing Director of The New Times, stressed that media houses should drop nonreciprocal traditional way of choosing the content and attend on the audience's feedback.

"Technology made mass interaction easy, we should hear from the audience and what they want us to deliver," he said.

Asked whether under resourced media should accept foreign aid, the three panelists agreed that the answer is either yes or no.

They emphasised that what is important in the case is to avoid the influence of foreign aid that promotes biased content and fake news.

Media as business still a challenge

The panel discussion was the shortest of the three panels held during the event.

Earlier, Yann Gwet, a journalism lecturer at the University of Rwanda and Louis PA Thomasi, Director of International Federation of African Journalists, were on the same stage discussing African media in the context of emerging disruptions.

The discussion revolved around the idea that African media should work together in equipping both media houses and emerging journalists with adoptive, financial and competitive ability to face the "digital disruption".

"We should create our own African narrative but we need to first be self-reliant," L Thomasi argued.

Gwet explained to the audience how students are prepared to cope with the demands of the market.

"It is hard to focus on the trends because they are not consistent, but we focus on fundamentals and basic skills such as writing and adoptive skills," he said.

The panel also recommended that African governments ease access to data and strengthen digital ways of disseminating information.

"Access to the internet should be narrowed down to link up urban-rural digital divide. This will help in digitalizing media in Africa," Louis Thomasi said.

Every November 08, African countries celebrate the African Day of Information. This year's theme was "Role of the media in disruptive era".

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