Rwanda: Kwibuka26 - Media Welcomes Role in Commemoration

As the genocide commemoration period is drawing closer, The National Commission for fight against Genocide (CNLG) has announced some changes to the commemoration activities due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The changes will effectively affect the communal discussions that usually attract big gatherings during the commemoration.

Instead the talks will be streamed on local media channels.

The New Times talked to some media practitioners to find out how the decision was welcomed and their particular role in the commemoration period.

Martin Semukanya, the Chief Editor at Contact TV, welcomed the idea and asserts that it won't daunt the attention given to the period.

"This is very reasonable because there is no way that the commemoration can take place during such challenging times. Additionally, in my opinion, it won't reduce the attention given to the commemoration period as the media is such an influencing tool," he says.

However, the former SABC news editor requests media houses that are to stream the programmes (including his) more time for ideas from citizens who will not be present in the studio.

Justin Mugabo, the Director of Isango Star considers the pre-genocide and post-genocide periods as a desert and a garden respectively. He adds that the media has a role to construct all of the afore-mentioned.

"If the nation has this kind of transformation, the broadcasting channels have a hand in this. They have taught citizens to live in harmony and abide by the government guidelines. So, if the media played such a role before, why can't they play it today?" he wonders.

These initiatives of broadcasting human-interest stories and programs comprise citizen journalism, said Emmanuel Mugisha, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC).

"To build a professional and accountable journalism, we need to adhere to those kinds of guidelines. We will take the lead in live-streaming the talks being held by the government and at the same time fight fake news which is spread by those who do not wish Rwandans good", he said.

CNLG announced that all the talks will be broadcast on national media houses as well as other willing broadcasters.

All talk shows will be aired daily from 3 to 4:30 PM. The commemoration week normally starts from April 7 until 13 followed by 100 days of memorial that end in July.

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