Look, if you're a feminist and you read that headline and felt the immediate urge to pack your bags and move to Rwanda, we completely understand. On Tuesday, Rwanda took a pretty huge stand against discriminatory behaviour, particularly to women. The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) announced that it had revised the broadcasting license of a local radio station after it aired a sermon that was perceived as discriminatory against women.
In the offending sermon, aired live on January 29 on the Amazing Grace Christian Radio station, a local pastor, Nicolas Niyibikora said women are "a source of evil" and "against God's plan".
The sermon immediately went viral on social media, rightly angering women's rights activists across the country and beyond. The National Women’s Association and Rwanda Women Journalists’ Association went on to file separate complaints to the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), the media self-regulatory body.
Rwanda shuts radio station for airing hateful sermon against women https://t.co/umOLcOg8sb— The Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) April 24, 2018
The radio station, Amazing Grace Christian Radio, was initially suspended for 30 days for the sermon before the revocation of their license, reportedly failed to comply with the sanctions imposed on it, which included making an apology to the public by correcting the aired programme and paying a fine of two million Rwandan francs ($2,331, N1,165,500), according to RURA.
Then a letter was sent to the radio demanding an explanation for non-compliance with the sanctions, but the regulators said that the reasons given in their response were found to be unsatisfactory, leading to the revocation of their license. The station now has two days to completely shut down operations.
The president of Rwanda just shut down 6000 churches and requires relegious leaders to have a degree or some wealth of knowledge in theology. A radio station in Rwanda just got shut down for its anti-women rhetoric. Rwanda aint about that bullshit.— Ozzy Etomi (@ozzyetomi) April 25, 2018
Amazing Grace Christian Radio had previously been warned by the RMC for airing provocative programme and has had one of its shows “The Bible and Quran” banned for inciting hatred against Muslims.
We think the issue is pretty open and shut. The media has a responsibility to educate and inform the public, not use their platform as a means to spread discriminatory, hateful and oppressive messages against any group. So all in all, we think the punishment fits the crime.