It is fifty five years now since Radio Rwanda started to inform, educate and entertain as core mission of journalism around the world.
The mother Radio in Rwanda, working under Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), was officially launched on May 27th 1961 in Kigali City.
However, the Radio broadcasting sets were in Burundi, former Ruanda-Urundi territory main headquarters.
In 1963, shortly after Rwanda’s independence, regime, the radio also started to work independently in Kigali. That is where the most popular and oldest Radio in Rwanda started from.
RBA celebrated 55-year anniversary yesterday in Kigali, in the ceremony that took place in Kigali Convention Centre. It was a colorful event that was attended by senior government officials, former and current employees of RBA and general community among others.
The radio was under government control before and during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, and was used by the then government to cultivate hate among the people.
Silas Mbonimana who started to work for Radio Rwanda in 1982 said that ethnic discrimination was also inside the institution.
“I started when there was good mood inside, but, as days passed, things changed to bad because of ethnicity. Every person wanted to know others’ origin, there were also extremists who wanted to harm colleagues,” he said.
After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the radio was used to unite Rwandans and preach new vision by the government.
Until 2003, it was the only radio that was operating in Rwanda. In 2004 private radios were opened and brought different programmes which helped them to dominate the radio that had been there for years.
As private radios had soft programmes like entertainment and sports, they attracted audience than Radio Rwanda with the majority being youth.
The changes in the industry forced Radio Rwanda to join the race and introduced similar programmes as well as recruiting young journalists.
Future of the radio
Speaking at the event yesterday, the RBA Director General, Arthur Asiimwe said that in next five years, they want to reform Radio Rwanda and affiliated radios so that they provide content based on people’s expectations.
“We want to be a leading and trusted media house; we need improvement,.. we want to work without bias,” he said.
He said that in five years, they want to raise quality, embrace creativity and capacity building among employees,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister, Dr. Edouard Ngirente requested the radio to continue to facilitate people along the development journey by providing them relevant information.
“Rwandans need media that give them well researched development news. You have been doing that and we hope that you will continue. It is few months now since the government announced the seven-year government programme, the programme has different plans that Rwandans need to know about, so, they need deep explanations so that no one will be left behind,” he added.
Adopted from www.en.igihe.com