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Rwanda closes 30 media outlets a week before elections

Rwanda closes 30 media outlets a week before elections

Rwanda's regulatory body has suspended 30 media organisations for not meeting requirements set by the new media law, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced on Monday, Agence France-Presse reported.

"With just a week to go to a presidential election on 9 August, the Rwandan authorities are openly flouting the rules of the democratic game," the organisation stated in a press release. Last week, the Media High Council published a list of 22 newspapers and 19 TV and radio stations that "meet the requirements of the law and therefore [are] legally recognized in Rwanda," the authorities said in a statement, quoted.

Photo: Umuseso and Umuvugizi are among the banned newspapers
Under the law approved in August 2009, all media should be registered with the council, despite having been approved by the regulatory body in previous years. It also imposed the capital necessary to open new outlets and granted the council the power to suspend newspapers and impose criminal penalties on journalists.

Now, those excluded from the list - including leading dailies like Umuseso, Umuvugizi and Umurabayo - are not allowed to publish information.

"The aim is to clamp down on the press and prevent journalists from doing their job as independent and impartial observers of the election process," RSF stated.

The African country was ranked 157th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and its President Paul Kagame, who hopes to win next week' election, has been on the list of Predators of Press Freedom for four consecutive years.


Clara Mart


2010-08-04 17:24

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