Rwanda Media

The largest radio and television stations are state-run. Most Rwandans have access to radio and Radio Rwanda is the main source of news throughout the country. Television access is limited mostly to urban areas. The press is tightly restricted and newspapers routinely self-censor to avoid government reprisals. Nonetheless, publications in Kinyarwanda, English, and French critical of the government are widely available in Kigali. Restrictions were increased in the run-up to the Rwandan presidential election of 2010, with two independent newspapers, Umuseso and Umuvugizi, being suspended for six months by the High Media Council.

Rwandatel is the country’s oldest telecommunications group, providing landlines to 23,000 subscribers, mostly government institutions, banks, NGOs and embassies. Private landline subscription levels are low. As of 2013, mobile phone penetration in the country is 57%, up from 35% in 2011. The leading provider is MTN, with around 2.5 million subscribers, followed by Tigo with 700,000. A third mobile phone service, run by Bharti Airtel, launched in March 2012. Rwandatel also operated a mobile phone network, but the industry regulator revoked its license in April 2011, following the company’s failure to meet agreed investment commitments. Internet penetration is low but rising rapidly; in 2010 there were 7.7 internet users per 100 people, up from 2.1 in 2007. In 2011, a 2,300 kilometers (1,400 mi) fiber-optic telecommunications network was completed, intended to provide broadband services and facilitate electronic commerce. This network is connected to SEACOM, a submarine fiber-optic cable connecting communication carriers in southern and eastern Africa. Within Rwanda the cables run along major roads, linking towns around the country. Mobile provider MTN also runs a wireless internet service accessible in most areas of Kigali via pre-paid subscription.

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