Wednesday, April 14, 2010

more tightening of government control: media censorship

The Rwandan government is after the media again, this time without linking the suspension of two Kinyarwanda-language papers to any specific article or journalist.

Yesterday, Rwanda's Media High Council (MHC) suspended Umuseso and Umuvugizi for six months. This means that both papers will be unable to comment on the upcoming August presidential elections. THe MHC accused Umuseso of insulting President Kagame, inciting the army and policy to insubordination and for fear mongering among the population. There is no substantive evidence to support these accusations, nor were the charges linked to a specific published article. The government-controlled MHC suspended Umuvugizi without citing any reasons for the suspension.

Under Rwanda's new media law, passed into law in August 2009, media outlets cannot be suspended for more than two weeks.

More critically, there is no alternate source of media in Rwanda at the moment. The New Times, Rwanda's English-language daily, is the most prominent publication. It is widely believed to operate at the behest of the RPF as editorial policy is set in coordination with the MHC.

Another point for authoritarianism in post-genocide Rwanda....

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