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Rwanda: New Law on Media

(Mar. 4, 2009) On February 23, 2009, the Lower Chamber of the Rwandan Parliament approved a new media law. This law mandates that all print media outlets put on every copy of their publications the number of copies to be printed and distributed for that particular edition. The law compels sources to reveal information and imposes a penalty in the form of a fine ranging from RWF100, 000 to 300,000 (US$176 to $529) for violation of this obligation.

The law also regulates capital requirements for starting a media business. Although the draft bill imposed a capital requirement of RWF6 million (US$10,586) for investors in a media business to set up print media, RWF50 million (US$88,222) for radio, and RWF100 million (US$176,444) for television, this language was omitted in the final version of the act in favor of delegating to ministerial decree the power to impose capital requirements. (Robert Mugabe, Parliament Adopts New Media Bill, THE NEW TIMES, Feb. 24, 2009, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200902240002.html.)