Media of Rwanda

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Various television networks, newspapers, and radio stations operate within Rwanda. These forms of media serve the Rwandan community by disseminating necessary information among the general public.[1] They are regulated by an independent government body, The Media High Council, based upon statutes regarding the regulation of media in Rwanda established in the Constitution of Rwanda.[2]

Media industry profiles[edit]


The New Times is the largest English-language and the oldest in Rwanda.[3] It also owns a newspaper joint in the local language Kinyarwanda, called Izuba Rirashe. The newspaper has been criticized for being "too servile" to the ruling party of Rwanda,[4] and being "excessively optimistic".[5] As such, competitors in the English-language newspaper industry have sprang up in recent years, with the formation of another large-scale English newspaper News of Rwanda in 2011.[6] Other minor newspapers have also been created to counter the pro-establishment role of the newspaper, such as The Rwandan,[7] Rwanda Eye[8] and Business Daily.[9]

Several newspaper publishers also provide Kinyarwanda-language newspapers, including both News of Rwanda and The Rwandan.[10]


The Rwandan television industry is mainly run by the state-owned Rwandan Broadcasting Agency under its subsidiary Rwanda Television.[11] RTV provides daily news and entertainment for the Rwandan public in three languages: English, Rwandan and Kinyarwanda. The daily routine of RTV includes soap operas, televised news, and other commentaries from guests, the latter of which has taken precedence due to recent public dissatisfaction with the RPF government.


See also: List of radio stations in Africa: Rwanda

Likewise, radio in Rwanda is mainly conducted through a subsidiary of the RBA, Radio Rwanda.[12] The radio station offers only French-language services[13] in FM 100.7. As such, it is used to complement other media which mainly provided services in English and Kinyarwanda, the two popular languages in Rwanda. Due to the recent economic development in Rwanda, radio has taken less precedence among other forms of communication, and the government has also focused on improving the television industry in Rwanda.

Book publishers[edit]

A major share of the market is controlled by nine indigenous publishers, among which four have opened bookshops in the country.[14] Before the Rwandan Genocide, there were no publishing houses in Rwanda. The situation improved after the incident, with the first indigenous publisher established in the country, Bakame Editions.[15] Since the turn of the century, major publishers from all across the world such as Oxford University Press and Macmillan Publishers have begun making inroads into the local publishing industry.[16] However, the establishment of publishing houses locally and from abroad has not instituted a healthy reading culture in Rwanda, and local publishers have decried the fact that the younger generation does not often participate in this pastime. Despite the boom in the local publishing industry, a similar spell of growth has yet to be seen in the commercial trading of books. Bookstores remain a rare sight in Rwanda, and the first library in the country was established in 2012 in Kigali.[14]

Legal regulation of media[edit]

A statutory authority has been established according to the Constitution of Rwanda, called The Media High Council. The official mission of the council is to guide the industry in reflecting trends of globalization, to equip the industry with the skills required, and to conduct necessary research to improve the sector.[17] The legal responsibilities of the council is further elaborated in section Nº03/2013 of the law.[18] Freedom of the press in Rwanda is enshrined within Article 34 of the Constitution of Rwanda:[2]

"Freedom of the press and freedom of information are recognized and guaranteed by the State.

Freedom of speech and freedom of information shall not prejudice public order and good morals, the right of every citizen to honour, good reputation and the privacy of personal and family life. It is also guaranteed so long as it does not prejudice the protection of the youth and minors.

The conditions for exercising such freedoms are determined by law.

There is hereby established an independent institution known as the “High Council of the Press ».

The law shall determine its functions, organization and operation."

As such, it is imperative for the government and the people to recognize the freedom of the press in Rwanda, as stated in the Constitution of Rwanda. The media should be free from all government intervention, and is only governed by the autonomous Media High Council.

Freedom of the press[edit]

According to Freedom House, Rwanda's Press Freedom score was 79 in 2015 (0 represents the best score, 100 represents the worst score), and was considered "not free" by its standards.[19] Throughout the years, journalists have faced continuous harassment from the government, including arbitrary arrests and threats. Journalists also practice self-censorship for fear of government retaliation, dealing a severe blow to Rwanda's freedom of the press.[20] The government also actively participated in potentially unconstitutional acts of interfering with the media, by banning BBC's Kinyarwanda service in Rwanda due to the airing of a controversial documentary.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Media High Council Homepage". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  2. ^ a b "The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  3. ^ "page - The New Times - Rwanda". The New Times. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  4. ^ "President Paul Kagame under scrutiny". The Economist. 
  5. ^ Brea, Jennifer (16 July 2007). "The new Rwanda". Theguardian. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  6. ^ "News Of Rwanda – Rwanda News | | About us News Of Rwanda – Rwanda News". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  7. ^ "news". The Rwandan. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  8. ^ "Rwanda Eye - Kinyarwanda, Rwanda Banks, Rwanda Economy, Rwanda Money — Accurate News and Reports on Finance, Economy, Banking, Commerce and Trade from Rwanda and East Africa". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  9. ^ "Business Daily - MORE POSSIBILITIES". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  10. ^ "Rwandan Newspapers : Newspapers from Rwanda : Rwandan News : Africa". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  11. ^ "RTV - Rwanda Broadcasting Agency | All the news and the stories happening". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  12. ^ "Rwanda Profile: Media". BBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  13. ^ Done. "Radio Rwanda - 100.7 FM Kigali, Kigali - Listen Online". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  14. ^ a b "Rwandan publishers decry lack of reading culture - Lifestyle". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  15. ^ [1] Archived August 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Rwandan publishers decry lack of reading culture - Lifestyle". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  17. ^ "Media High Council Mission". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  18. ^ "Official Gazette nº 10 of 11 March 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  19. ^ Rwanda (2014-10-25). "Rwanda | Country report | Freedom of the Press | 2015". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  20. ^ Anjan Sundaram. "How President Paul Kagame crushed Rwanda's free press | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  21. ^ Dugald Baird. "Rwanda places indefinite ban on BBC broadcasts over genocide documentary | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  22. ^ "Rwanda suspends BBC broadcasts over genocide film". BBC News. 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2016-07-16.