Minister Busingye made the call during a three-day training aimed at building capacities for journalists reporting justice and human rights issues and exchanging ideas on the implementation the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations on human rights.
On 25th January 2021, Rwanda participated in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) where Minister Busingye presented Rwanda’s 3rd report to the Human Rights Council.
At the time, Rwanda received 284 recommendations from the United Nations Human Right Council, of which the country accepted to implement 160 over the next five years and took note of 75.
Busingye urged journalists to model good values and reminded them of their role in implementation process.
“The media plays a critical role during this process and is considered to measure moral virtues. I believe such subjects are covered at schools of journalism. Even though you might not have learnt it at school, it should be made clear that practicing journalists are like priests. Usually, a priest has a critical role in the society because he is not supposed to advise people against theft and later do the same after removing his clergy robe. A journalist also falls under this category of people highly expected to practice what they preach. When he/she is reporting and digging deeper into story details, the journalist should be modeling moral virtues,” he said.
Busingye highlighted that the media can help the Government to review achievements that no one should ignore its contribution to the society.
“It is not only the duty of our superiors to hold us accountable but also citizens should be involved. The media is a powerful tool to bridge us. It is considered the catalyst of positive transformations bringing together all concerned parties for common understanding which is a crucial aspect globally,” he said.
Taking an example of Rwanda’s dark history which led to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, Busingye reflected how media houses including RTLM and Kangura served as tools to spread propaganda mobilizing Hutu to kill Tutsi and urged journalists to foster positive change.
The training sought, among other things, to know/understand and exchange ideas on the place and role of the media in the implementation of recommendations, increase the capacity of media professionals on the UPR process; informing and involving the public.
It also aimed at raising awareness of the media professionals on the general outcome of Rwanda’s third review under the UPR; discuss and adopt strategies for the implementation of the recommendations relevant to press and media freedoms.