On November 2, 2023, Rwanda joined the global community in commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI).
Since 2019, the journalism community has been steadfastly reminding the world to combat the prevailing culture of impunity regarding crimes against journalists.
In 2023, while the international events took place in Washington, the Rwandan journalists organized their own event. They utilized Zoom technology for this gathering.
This initiative brought together various entities associated with crimes against journalists, including legal professionals and law enforcement agencies.
Gonzaga Muganwa, a journalist and analyst, asserts that incidents of violence against journalists in Rwanda have decreased significantly, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the National Police, RIB (Rwanda Investigation Bureau), and the journalism sector. He emphasized, “In the past, journalists faced numerous attacks, but nowadays, these incidents have declined. We aim for their complete cessation and the just punishment of those responsible.”
Jean Paul Ibambe, a legal advocate for journalists, emphasizes that journalists who commit offenses should face consequences. He underlines, “It is imperative to hold wrongdoers accountable. We frequently hear about journalists being victimized, equipment damaged, but often, the matter ends there. Those responsible must be held responsible.”
Journalist Louise Uwizeyimana highlighted that there are individuals who, driven by personal interests, attempt to silence the media and conceal the truth from the public eye.
Dr. Thierry Murangira, spokesperson for RIB, stressed the importance of journalists distancing themselves from criminal activities and being aware of their legal rights. He said, “We urge journalists to be well-versed in the law, avoiding any involvement in criminal activities. Furthermore, they should know that if someone abuses them, they should promptly assert their rights and file a complaint.”
Emmanuel Mugisha, the executive secretary of the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), announced plans to establish a dedicated mechanism to facilitate the filing of complaints by journalists. This system is currently in development and aims to streamline the process, ensuring that victims receive appropriate follow-up and that perpetrators are held accountable.
Regarding RJSD (Rwanda Journalists for Sustainable Development), this organization was founded in 2019, with Rwandan journalists uniting to support sustainable development in Rwanda. Their mission revolves around promoting access to information and knowledge, empowering Rwandans to make informed decisions contributing to development.
RJSD operates as a non-governmental, non-profit organization, holding the necessary legal documentation to conduct their activities.