It’s been a long time since we saw the arrival of a new newspaper in Kigali. Two local tabloids were given 6 month bans in 2010 – only never to return to Rwanda. We’ve seen other newspapers stopped at the Ugandan border. And we’ve heard about possible new publications, that simply never, ever appeared. We’ve also heard lots of talk about media reform. And we’ve seen one journalist killed and two others imprisoned in less then one year. But, what we haven’t seen for a long, long time in Rwanda is a new English language newspaper.
Alas, Business Daily isn’t new. It used to appear now and then, but never regularly and certainly not on a daily basis. However, from March, 2011, Business Daily will appear once per week. That’s right, it’s a daily weekly, or is that a weekly daily…??? Which hardly inspires confidence and could indeed be a world first for the newspaper industry.
The first 16 page issue of this revamped paper – Issue no. 14 – hit Kigali this week at a cost of 500 Rwf. The focus is business, however there’s plenty of opinion thrown in too from Publishing Editor Marcel Museminari and Editor Claude Nsabimana. There are also pages on industry, real estate, community, youth, health and world news. Surprisingly, there is no sports section.
The features section is potentially the most interesting. Issue 14 focuses on the Biryogo slum on the outskirts of the Nyamirambo district of the capital,
“There is something unique about the place, the residents of this part of Kigali; in Biryogo have openness to speak and express themselves unlike most of Rwanda. They are open and hide nothing including on controverisal political issues when you approach them.”
Which all sounds great, yet only two of these ‘open individuals’ of Biryogo are mentioned by name, and are paraphrased, not quoted.
I’m not sure Business Daily knows what it’s trying to be. The out of date website does little to encourage us. However, at the very least there is now an alternative English language newspaper on the streets. Even if, on this take, it’s not that much of an alternative.
Meanwhile, on 2 March, 2011, the Media High Council released a list of licensed media outlets. Neither Umuseo or Umuvugizi appear on the list.