The three reporters for IWACU TV that were accused of spreading false information and publishing unoriginal statements and pictures have been released.
Prior to their release on October 5, prosecutors had sought 22 years and five months imprisonment.
Prosecutors accused them of using headlines and pictures that do not reflect the substance of a video they posted and classified it as slandering content.
Damascene Mutuyimana, Shadrack Niyonsenga, and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana were arrested in 2018 following the publication of unoriginal statements and pictures on their YouTube Channel.
The case was widely publicized following their imprisonment in 2018.
As per the existing laws, libel and slander are sanctioned with one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.
The punishment can however intensify to 10 years when the offender spreads false information with the intent to create a hostile opinion of Rwanda and 15 years when the crime is committed during turbulent times.
According to the Rwanda Media Commission code of conduct, which is under review, journalists are prohibited from publishing sentimental headlines that do not correspond with the facts and realities on the ground.
However, according to Rwandan laws, defamation is not a crime. Any defamed person can report to Rwanda Media Commission, which has the authority to sanction journalists and take punitive actions.