17.05.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Rwanda National Police, partners discuss strengthening the protection of journalists

A training workshop on incorporating the curriculum on protection of journalists in Rwanda National Police training programs, including basic and professional trainings, took place in Rwanda on 27 March 2018.

Promoting an enabling environment for journalists through better working relationship between police and the media is possible, basing on the ongoing initiative by the Rwanda National Police and the media fraternity in cooperation with UNESCO.

Thirty Rwanda Police representatives, the Rwanda Governance Board and senior media personnel drawn from Rwanda journalists’ associations, the self-regulatory body and Rwanda media houses attended a technical workshop in Kigali Rwanda, on 27 March 2018, which mainly focused on how to incorporate the curriculum on protection of journalists in Rwanda National Police training programs including basic and professional trainings.

The integration of these elements in the curriculum is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the police in promoting freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists in Rwanda as well as partnership between the two entities in informing and educating the citizenry on rights and crime prevention. Speaking during the opening session, Lydia Gachungi, the UNESCO Regional Expert for Safety of Journalists and Media Development acknowledged the great progress made by the Rwanda Police and the media fraternity, in promoting an enabling environment for the Journalists to do their job. “Preserving the knowledge gained through the previous Rwanda Police Force and media engagements, through institutionalisation of the Freedom of Expression and Public Order training materials in police training curriculum, will greatly enhance better working relationship between the police and the media now and in future,” Gachungi said.

“Compared to 5 years ago, the current relationship between the Rwanda National Police and the Rwanda media fraternity has greatly improved owing to the regular dialogue and interaction sessions,” reiterated Mr. Emmanuel Mugisha the Executive secretary of Rwanda Media Commission.

Mr. Gerald Mbanda, the Rwanda Government focal person for safety of journalists and Head of Media Development at the Rwanda Governance Board, told the participants that the incorporation of the proposed materials into the police curriculum is a great achievement. “This will take the police–media relationship in Rwanda to another level, with long term impact in strengthening the working relations,” said Mr. Mbanda.

While officially closing the training, Commissioner of Police (CP) Theos Badege, the Rwanda National Police spokesperson, commended the initiative. He added that if the programme is adopted, it will be incorporated in all Police training disciplines and urged also to consider Training of Trainers among police officers.

This activity is a culmination of a successful partnership between the Rwanda National Police Force and the Rwanda Media Commission through which UNESCO Regional office for Eastern Africa with funding from the Government of Sweden, has been supporting workshops and dialogue forums between the Rwanda National Police, District Administration Security Support Organs (DASSO) and the media fraternity in Rwanda.

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