The Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) has begun registering YouTube channels in a new crackdown on content deemed 'unprofessional' where registration requires Rwf 50,000 ($52) for owners who must prove that they are trained journalists, an authoritative source revealed Friday to APA in Kigali.
The RMC fashions itself as the local media's self-regulatory body, but is funded by the government.
According to a statement from RMC, the development exclusively targets journalism operating online for accountability and professional purposes.
However, to be able to register, applicants will have to present a copy of their degree certificate, and supporting documents of the owner of the YouTube channel.
Article 19 of the law regulating media in Rwanda, stipulates that every person has the right to receive, disseminate or send information through the internet.
This means that every person is entitled to the right of creating a website through which they can publish content for public consumption even if they are not professional journalists.
Commenting on the new move, the Executive Secretary of RMC, Emmanuel Mugisha explained that the decision comes following complaints received from the public and adjudicated through media self-regulation mechanisms.
The majority of the complaints were filed against online media publishers including YouTube bloggers.
“We are not doing this for regulatory purposes, rather we are doing this for recognition purposes," Mugisha clarified.