The Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, yesterday said that Rwanda’s security remains intact and called for the continued partnership at all levels in sustaining what has been achieved.
The Minister made the remarks while officiating a one-day Police-Media interaction session held at the Rwanda National Police headquarters under the theme: "Strengthening Partnership for Quality Service Delivery.”
The session is held on a quarterly basis. Its aim is to create a permanent platform for the engagement of the media and the police.
The Minister said that the media is a strong partner in ensuring security in the country; however, he called for a paradigm shift from crime prevention to sensitizing Rwandans to comply with the law.
“Professional journalism is about serving the interest of the people when it comes to crime prevention and compliance with the law… your commitment to public safety is highly valued,” the Minister said.
He reminded journalists that their work serves as a great contribution to the nation’s development.
“The government is proud of the important milestone the media has achieved by being good advocates for citizen interests," he said.
“Crimes affect all of us, including criminals themselves. We should all desist from crime to avoid its consequences. All Rwandans should envision and dream a country free from illicit drugs, corruption, cyber-enabled crimes, theft, Gender Based Violence and any other crime."
The Minister emphasized the role of the media in championing efforts against the trafficking, distribution, and use of narcotics, "drug related crimes should be conclusively dealt with because of their adverse effects on humanity," he told journalists.
He further highlighted that although Rwanda remains safe, emerging security threats such as terrorism and technology-facilitated crimes remain a global concern that requires collective approach including that of the media to ensure compliance with the laws and to facilitate the realization of the security and development Rwandan desire.
The Chairperson of the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), Cleophas Barore observed that, of the 200 cases his organization has handled in the last four years none has been referred to the police, underling that "these interactions help to bridge the gap between the police and the media."
While closing the session, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Emmanuel K. Gasana told journalists that Rwanda’s "security architecture incorporates media, the general public, and other public and private entities." As a result, " this has eased access to information and facilitated crime prevention through our community policing model.”
The IGP also called for a strengthened partnership with the media in the forthcoming 23rdcommemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Such partnership would help ensure that cases of negative ideologies and other foreign based negative elements are kept at bay.
Particularly on the Police-media interactions, the IGP told journalists that the platform is proof of collective efforts in keeping Rwanda safe, " this form of interaction helps you to publish informed news and it helps us to update the public about what we do and how we do it.”
The IGP reminded journalists of the power of information, "information is power and using the media is powerful," he said.
He continued that it is through the media that communication to our people takes place and that there can be no development without security.
He elaborated thus: "as a country with an ambition and sense of urgency, security is paramount. We have achieved a lot but we must work harder to achieve even more and sustain what is in place already."
The daylong session was attended by representatives from the Swedish embassy, UNESCO Legal Aid Forum, Rwanda Governance Board, Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority, National Commission for the Fight against Genocide and Rwanda Public Prosecution Authority among others.
Expert panels deliberated on topics including the working relations between the media and the police; ethical reporting of legal and justice matters; the safety of journalists; the rights and obligations journalists; and responsible coverage of the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The meeting came up with 12 resolutions in relation to enhancing cooperation between the police and the media in particular and in professional reporting in general.