"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


Rwanda defends suspension

No, no, no, of course the six-month suspension of two of Rwanda's independent newsweeklies just four months before the country's August 9 presidential elections has nothing to do with those papers' criticism of the RPF and support for opposition candidates. From the Economist:
Rwanda's Media High Council said the decision to suspend the Umuseso and Umuvugizi newspapers was based on their erroneous content.

"We are acting on the basis of the content of the publications. Elections are months away," said Patrice Mulama, Executive Secretary of Media High Council.

"This is not the first time we are suspending Umuseso for inciting the public. We suspended this paper in 2004 and 2009," he said. "We are challenging the professionalism of these papers and we have a firm ground to explain the case at hand to court."
So there. But, hey, if "erroneous content" is now grounds for shutting down Rwandan media outlets, I look forward to the closure of the government daily, the New Times. Goodness knows those editors could use six months to learn about professionalism and factual reporting.

CORRECTION - The above-linked to article is from Reuters, not The Economist. Thanks to the reader who caught my mistake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are being very cynical. I assume you are not a Kinyarwanda speaker so are criticising the decision without knowing any examples of the output of these newspapers.

Sorry I do not see how I can insert the link but "A bucket of cold water for Kigali's overheated press" in the East African has a link on Kigali Wire for example. Is it essential that Rwandans can compare Kagame to Hitler - although in his Memorial Week speech he said HE did not care anyway.

If New Times suggests that the standard of journalism in Rwanda is poor has it not occurred to you that the standard in the other papers might be worse?

For you to criticise standards is anyway hypocritical. What you seem to be advocating is that the freedom to print any rubbish you like is important. In the UK and USA the standards of the press and TV and other popular culture is heading downwards fast. If Rwanda wants to go its own way on this who are we to complain?

Considerable press freedom in the USA does not prevent widespread use of the death penalty (often on innocent people) and the electorate cannot even see the sense in having universal health care! I think a few uneducated Rwandan peasants could give a more intelligent view on that.

Although this may be offensive to you, I think Rwanda aspires to do better than just imitate the divisions, poverty and violence of US society. It has its own vision. Just as Rwandans think it bizarre for whites to wear tatty clothes and shoes they have more ambition than that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 7:10:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The response above makes me smile.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 8:04:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Oh, look, Oxford's biggest RPF defender is back!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:34:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to see neither of you are willing to engage with my points. And I am not from Oxford. You think you know everything. And I am not being paid in case that is your next comment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:58:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

I never said you were being paid. But you definitely have an IP address in Oxfordshire.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:51:00 AM

Blogger Alex Engwete said...

Wow!... The exchange between Anonymous-from-Oxfordshire and texasinafrica is fascinating. Rwanda will soon be setting stringent global "standards of the press and TV and other popular culture"...
Well, good morning, Global Community, and welcome to the new global "standards of the press and TV and other popular TV" of North Korea!!!
This comment of Anonymous from Oxfordshire prompts me to immediately add texasinafrica on my blogroll... It was long overdue anyway!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:53:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Thanks, Alex! Love your blog, by the way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:05:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not been in Oxfordshire in years FYI. I am sure you like to think that supporters of development in Rwanda are few. You do not attempt to defend printing nonsense either in the USA or in Africa. Maybe Africans trying to progress by making their own decisions troubles you? Are we all meant to do just what Americans tell us?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:30:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article that you link to and quote from seems to be from Reuters - where does the Economist come into it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:40:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Oops - my mistake. Correcting it now - thanks for the heads up!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 3:27:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Seriously, anon? You're going to throw the "Americans telling Africans what to do" card? At a professor at an historically black college who teaches about postcolonial domination of African states and who regularly posts on the need for the West to let African communities make their own decisions rather than dictating development from afar? You're going to make these accusations against someone who is arguing that in fact Rwandans should have access to a free and full range of information so they can make up their own minds about who should govern them? Really?

And wherever you are, you are definitely posting from an IP address in Oxfordshire. Tracking IP addresses isn't rocket science.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 3:37:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Umuseso and Umuvugizi WERE giving Rwandans "a free and full range of information" there would be no problem. But if - as the East African article explains - they are printing nonsense your argument falls down I suggest. The govt in Kigali also wants voters to make their minds up based on facts not lies.

Where I am is neither here nor there but if your "less than rocket science" places me in Oxfordshire that is also wrong by the way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 4:57:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well here's some naive questions.
1)Has the current administration in Rwanda ever seriously stated that they are concerned with multi- parties or a free press being able to operate without restrictions in Rwanda?

2)Has the RPF themselves ever purported that Rwanda is at present a democracy?

3)Has the current administration made claims that the elections held in Rwanda since they have governed the country; constitute elections that are representative of a democracy?

4)Has Kagame claimed to be a fairly and freely elected President rather than a military strongman?

Perhaps the international community is viewing Rwanda as being a multi party, democratic political system, when Rwanda has in fact never made any of these claims for themselves. As such, maybe the international community’s response to what is going on in Rwanda is based on its own preconceived notions/ expectations on how Rwanda should run their political system, but in fact are not based on any claims Rwanda has purported to care about upholding.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 5:10:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case anyone is interested the Media Council report about Umuseso and Umuvugizi is printed in full on the RNA News website.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 5:25:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More arrests of high ranking military officers reported on the BBC website, seems like the RPF is imploding or alternatively.... power is really being consolidated.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 8:53:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

And now Ingabire's been arrested.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:36:00 AM

Blogger Nkunda said...

This is a sad day for Rwanda. A majority of us thought we would achieve through non-violence what violence never gave us--democracy. Unfortunately, we seem to be reverting back to the same old game.

I am disappointed and enraged beyond words. But, again, maybe we overestimated Kagame's liberal side--that is, if he has one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 11:26:00 PM


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