Online and print media owners on Monday met with Rwanda Media commission and the Utilities Regulatory Authority to assess possible ways of improving the industry.
This follows previous meetings with broadcasters as part of RURA’s initiative to dialogue with all media sub sectors to collectively devise ways to overcome existing setbacks.
RURA’s Head of Media and Consumer Affairs, Anthony Kulamba underlined that “media is a very important partner in development, and being regulators we feel we should be close and meet regularly to evaluate the performance, achievements and how to overcome the challenges.”
During discussions, online and print media owners were encouraged to register their outlets and be licensed to operate lawfully. This is after disclosure that 60 percent of online publishers are not licensed.
The issues of media sustainability, professionalism, technological adaptation, quality content production, operational legal and policy framework were among the majors concerns tabled in the consultative meeting with regulators.
Dr Haron Mwangi, a media consultant, warned against venturing into media only as an enterprise and not a public institution. He said this is likely to create a media that is highly commercialised hence denying a wide segment of population information and development.
“There is need for media to come together as a group to develop new models of sustaining their operations to be more competitive but also address public issues that are emerging in Rwanda… there must me a balance of the two perspectives,” he advised.
Media in Rwanda struggles with a lack of specialised reporting in thematic areas of education, business, governance, technology and leadership. This renders the quality of content to be dubious and short of credibility.
However media owners argue that the financial weakness is behind the low quality and sometimes not well researched content.
Regulators acknowledged media proprietors’ reasons as justifiable, however, they advised them on creation of formal organisation and representation of their grievances.