August 27, 2020

Setting the Record Straight: Why WE do What We Do


Our regular readers will have noticed our quick return, following our decision to suspend publication for a period of time. We are delighted to be back sooner than we had envisaged, and would like to welcome you back, and thank you for your patience and loyal readership.

Some of you would like to have had a more detailed explanation for our announcement of temporary closure, and we would apologise to them, if they found our statement too brief.

Like news organisations everywhere, our financial resources were, and remain strained. When we started, we operated through a unique model, which meant we had a very small team of permanent reporters and network of collaborators. You may have noticed that some of our content had attributions of other media. They were collaborative projects, innovatively designed to diverse audiences.

The Covid-19 Pandemic made what were always scarce financial resources, even more meagre, and we wanted done breathing space while we brainstormed about raising more much needed finances. We have had to forego different things to be able to survive. We made very difficult decisions.

The answer it turned out, would take some time to find, and we did not want the suspension to be too long, and so, while we are still experiencing financial difficulties, we decided that we must soldier on, believing our role to be an important one.

And it is to that role we now turn, and take the opportunity to restate our editorial position, which we may not have made clear at our relaunch last year.

Our mission statement, as many of you know, is “Serving Your Right to Know the Truth“. It is fundamental to what we aim to be: a source of information you can rely on, always, trusting that our objective will always be a truthful reflection of what we report.

Much is said, and written about the freedom of media in Rwanda, internationally in particular. NGOs like Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and others, seek to project to the world, a climate where media is barely able to breathe, let alone work freely.

The reality couldn’t be more different. We at The Chronicles are keenly aware of how fortunate we are to work in a country, where, provided we do our job well, within the law, as stipulated under the constitution, our right to fulfil our stated mission to serve your right to the truth, is protected by the state many say denies us that right.

From time immemorial, news organisations everywhere have always chosen to lean towards one political outlook or other, be it left wing, right wing, centre left, centre right and so on. It is a choice they make for their own reasons, a right they choose to exercise. This is also true of many of our colleagues in Rwanda. They also find themselves having to choose between the two extreme narratives about Rwanda.

The mainstream news about Rwanda has been working in such a way that there was a single story narrative in the local media. The alternative version has only been coming from foreign press. There is also a part of Rwanda that many would rather never existed; a news narrative spread by Rwandan exiles. Over the years, the population has slowly been preferring to consume this version of news. As a result, young Rwandans are growing up in a very toxic news environment, as either side of the divide battles for their hearts and minds.

The Chronicles chooses a different position. We declare no affiliation to any political party or narrative, choosing instead to report objectively, on and about all political complexions, without fear or favour.

The new Rwanda is an extraordinarily exciting place to do journalism. So much is happening at such a fast pace that if you blink for too long, you will open your eyelids to a new environment. This speed of change, and real transformation has become the norm, so much so that Rwandans tend to take it for granted.

This profound change and transformation is informed by one fundamental objective; to raise the living standards of Rwandans, and with their active participation, build a nation of which they can be rightly proud.

Under these circumstances, it would be perfectly natural and easy for almost all of our articles to reflect the many great achievements that are being scored, almost daily. And at times we shall indeed bring you such celebratory articles, because they inform about the country.

But in any environment, let alone one that is undergoing such profound change and transformation, there will be good, and the not so good, actually the real bad! We believe it our duty and responsibility to bring you both, to give you a more balanced picture.

Inevitably, we will not always please the subjects of our articles, in fact, it is likely that we may never please them, but we are determined to safeguard their right to expect only truth and accuracy from us.

Where we fail, and we have, from time to time, we hope to hear from you, our readers, and if we agree with your objection, we shall always print a retraction, correct our mistake, with our sincere apologies.

In today’s world, we know that most criticism of us will come via social media. Every single day, The Chronicles is subject of very passionate vitriol. The news platform gets all sorts of brands. Members of our team are called names. They live with threatening phonecalls. But again, there exist very passionate supporters, who have given themselves the mission to counter the former on our behalf.

As The Chronicles, we take note of the tempers we have provoked. If it is constructive criticism, we shall respond to it. We do however hope that you will understand that as a small publication, we cannot respond directly to everyone on social media. And since it would be invidious to respond to some and not others, our response will always address the issue raised generally, rather than a particular individual opinion.

Whether you a regular reader, or visit us only occasionally, whether you are an ardent fan, or an equally ardent critic, we want to hear from you. Even if you do not hear from us directly, please know that your views and opinions will always be considered and respected.

In conclusion, if anything defines our position, it is this: after the defeat of the ideology, and dark forces that perpetrated the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, the new leadership embarked on an almost sacred project to rebuilding a Rwanda that once was, before the colonially instigated divisions tore it apart. Every institution has had to be rebuilt, or built afresh. This includes the media landscape.

From the outset, the liberation leadership set out its stall clearly: reconstruct the nation, following the highest principles of governance.

Inevitably, these high benchmarks are not always reached, indeed, here and there, they can sometimes be diverted.

We believe that as a media organ, it was our duty and responsibility to hold all to account, without fear or favour, based on these principles, these high benchmarks.

We believe that pursuing the best of journalism is the most appropriate way for us, as a news organisation, to answer the call to all Rwandans to play their part in our national reconstruction, to serve our nation, and our people.

The Editorial

Email your news TIPS to info@chronicles.rw or WhatsApp +250738160269.
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