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WSIS Stocktaking Success Stories 2015

International Telecommunication Union World Summit on the Information Society WSIS Stocktaking Processsw

image of WSIS Stocktaking Success Stories 2015

This report refers to 18 projects selected as the most successful stories worldwide under each category, to serve as best practice models to be replicated by other stakeholders interested in ICT for development.The WSIS Prizes 2015 contest represents an ideal platform for identifying and showcasing success stories and models that can be easily replicated, empowering communities at the local level, giving an opportunity to WSIS stakeholders to participate in the contest, and, in particular, recognizing the efforts of stakeholders in terms of the value they add to society and of their commitment to achieving the WSIS goals.

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Ethical dimensions of the information society

The 2013 media reforms in Rwanda ushered in self-regulation in the Rwandan media sector, and particularly empowered journalists to establish a media self-regulatory body. The law regulating the media, commonly known as the Media Law of 2013, in its article 4 mandated such a media self-regulatory body to “regulate the daily functioning of the media and the conduct of journalists”. The Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) was subsequently set up by journalists in interpretation of the Media Law and to pursue that mandate. While the initial focus of the RMC has been on the mainstream media, specifically print and broadcasting media outlets, the fast-changing media landscape in Rwanda is shifting focus onto a rapidly evolving form of media – online media. According to current figures, there are 33 radio stations, seven television stations and 40 newspapers and magazines, as well as 100 web-based media outlets. These statistics indicate that there is a greater presence of web-based media outlets than of all the other media platforms combined, which has led to calls for more attention to the ethical dimensions of online content than previously afforded. But the exponential growth of online content is not specific to the media sector but reflects the broader social, economic and technological shift in Rwanda’s socio-economic structure. The country has made significant strides in developing an information and knowledge-based society through initiatives such as investing in ICT infrastructure, affordable access to ICT services, mainstreaming ICT services in the economic sector, and promoting ICT literacy among the Rwandan population. As a result, Internet-based media have leveraged this technological capability to change the nature of the media landscape by forming a significant base of web-based media outlets. In regulatory terms, the Rwanda Media Commission has had to come up with an online media content monitoring and complaints-handling framework that captures the broad scope of the ethical and professional principles upon which self-regulation is based, as specified in the Rwandan Journalists’ and Media Practitioners’ Code of Ethics. This project, entitled Tackling Ethical Dimensions of Online Content Through Self-Regulation, is part of the broader strategy of dealing with online content contained in the Strategic Plan 2014-2018 of the Rwanda Media Commission, which proposes three main approaches (development of self-regulatory codes of ethics for online content, adoption of mechanisms for handling complaints, and education of online content producers on the ethical and professional dimensions of their work).

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