Who is qualified to be a successful media practitioner?

Individual Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda media in its Article 19, focuses on Rwanda’s compliance with its obligations under international human rights law to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. It promulgates various adopted reforms includes removal of requirements to become a journalist.

In its 7th paragraph, it stipulates how everyone is allowed to involve in media practitioners regardless any qualification, ‘Removal of requirement that journalists should hold particular academic qualifications, opening the profession to a greater number of people’.

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Media like any other profession ought to be guided with ethical scheme and knowledge on related theories to assume its effectiveness and qualifications as well.

What if everyone is allowed to become a nurse or doctor to heal regardless their academic qualification, degree and related skills? It could not be possible, they have even introduced Rwanda National Council of Nurses and Midwives to maintain the quality of their job what media bodies like Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and Media High Council (MHC) failed to discern.

Mr. Joseph Njuguna is the Dean of single public department of Journalism and communication at University of Rwanda. His stand is to provide qualified personnel in media industry and those qualifications discovered from media studies whether academic or other professional trainings.

In Exclusive conversation, he said; “As a lecturer at School of journalism and communication at university of Rwanda, my stand is that I could require everyone to be trained in Journalism and before doing it”.

Sweddish Journali

Sweddish Journalist, La Wadendal (center) while coaching students at University of Rwanda

Considering specilised reporting when an individual required to get more related skills and experience in a certain field, it is more crucial for someone who has done accounting, financing and economics related subject to engage in a special reporting on economics but this also requires strong and perfect trainings to assume that he will come up with well-designed report.

“Those who impose laws and regulations, perhaps they know the reasons for their settlement on Rwandan media regulations,” Njuguna added.

The students of School of journalism and communication and future journalist as well, risk missing media employment opportunities already grasped by other non-qualified personnel.

Bihire Dominic is completing his Bachelor’s degree in University of Rwanda, School of journalism and communication said unlimited admission to practice media is ruining media but also helps talented unskilled individuals to raise their capability.

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“Personally, I find ambiguity when referring to the unlimited access. The students of school of Journalism and communication tend to lack careerism job opportunities seem to be already grasped by others. It also negatively contributes to unprofessional upsurge in Rwanda media. On the other side, this is profitable to talented individuals who did not get opportunity to study media related studies”.

Uwiragiye Jerome is a journalist at one of private famous radio station I Rwanda, Isango Star and a holder of Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication told me that opening career to everyone it is sometimes to despise media industry and media practitioners.

According to him, lawyers and nurses is a good case study and should be guidance to government in order set new rules promoting media quality. “Suppose if you spend four years studying media studies and you are competing with someone who has been somewhere else, may be street vendor”. He added media owners should change their mind while recruiting to get professional journalists instead of relying on little salary required by unskilled.

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A Swedish Journalist, Ia Wadendal; who proclaimed herself to know little about media regulation in Rwanda; when asked about limitless access to everyone in media said that everyone needs academic or professional training to be journalist.

“It is really bad even if journalist needs specialization, also need to have journalistic skills and media ethics acquired from media schools”.

To better understand media status in any country, it is most appropriate to focus on media development and freedom. In understanding media development, UNESCO, for example focuses on five major indicators which are a system of regulation, control conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media; plurality and diversity of media, level of economic playing on field and transparency of media ownership.

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Theogene U @Bwiza.com

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