Rwanda’s state-run body in charge of broadcasting, Orinfor, is to be converted into an independent public broadcaster, under new laws about to be passed. The legislation will mean the newly formed Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) will have its own budget, hire its own staff and will broadcast content for public rather than government interest, reported The Rwanda Focus.
“RBA will not be a state broadcasting agency but a public one with the purpose of serving public interest,” said local government minister James Musoni in The Rwanda Focus, “this law will enable RBA to fully run its duties and work independently in managing its affairs.”
Orinfor’s content and editorial policy is currently set and supervised by government officials, and its employees are civil servants.
Comparisons have been made between the proposed RBA and the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in terms of legally mandated independence from state control. But some analysts have expressed doubt over whether the new structure will be more independent, and say that other broadcasters in the region are still viewed as government-controlled.
Others observers note that given the fragile history of Rwanda’s media, some government oversight of RBA is necessary. The Focus report also added that the law stipulates that the state will retain a 20 per cent stake in the agency, with the rest going to private shareholders.
Orinfor, a CBA member, operates Radio Rwanda and the main television channel, TV Rwanda and broadcasts in English, French and Kinyarwanda. Rwanda is the newest member of the Commonwealth, having joined in 2009.