Radio is a powerful tool of communication that must be used properly

Friday April 25 2014

In Rwanda, where a good number of people cannot read or write, radio remains a powerful media of communication.

Amazing Grace Radio, a Christian-run radio station in Rwanda, and Voice of Africa (VOA), a Muslim-runradio station have come in the spotlight for airing talk shows seen by many as aimed at tarnishing Islam and Christianity respectively.

This should not happen in this era when the country is still undergoing a healing process and trying to pick up the pieces after some media houses in the country incited the population against each other over two decades ago.

Instead of the media owners owning up and saying sorry to the Rwandan population that has been misled by religious teachers with ulterior motives, they have remained defiant and in a state of denial.

It is wrong for either of the two stations to selectively pick verses from either the Bible or the Quran and proceed to misnterpret them.

This contravenes Article 4 of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits media houses from broadcasting or publishing biased information that can incite racial, tribal, ethnic or religious hatred.

Well, every media house has its editorial policy and all programmes are crafted to help the founder meet their goals but in doing this, broadcasters should not veer off the line.

The fact that the regulator has come out to warn the media houses is enough evidence that the two were on the wrong.

The two radio talk shows have become popular with many people calling in to take part in the hot debates. They should use the popularity to sow seeds of peace, tolerance and reconciliation.