A revised media law promised by the Rwandan government prior to and during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 fails to safeguard the right to freedom of expression and a free media.
ARTICLE 19 welcomes several improvements in the draft, but calls on the government to bring the law into full compliance with international legal standards on the right to freedom of expression.
The state retains its control over the media in the draft law by determining rules for its operation and defining journalists' professional standards. Media freedoms and the right to freedom of expression are not safeguarded and can be restricted in violation of international law due to overly broad definitions and the creation of vaguely defined prohibitions. The Minister in charge of information and communication technologies (ICT) is given unlimited powers to determine the requirements for establishing media outlets and conditions for accepting foreign audio-visual media to operate in Rwanda. ARTICLE 19 is also concerned that the proposed amendments leave untouched problematic provisions in the current Media Law that are not in compliance with international standards.
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