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Rwanda is no US when it comes to press freedom – but it's also no Somalia

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But let’s talk specifics.

RSF alleges that in Rwanda, "journalists are fleeing the country because of the repression, in an exodus almost on the scale of Somalia's.” I’m no naïf, but this is laughable. Journalists fleeing Somalia are fleeing very real, dangerous and ongoing violence. Also, by the by, what’s going on in the media space for journalists who stay in Somalia? “The two leading Islamist militias, Al-Shabaab and Hizb-Al-Islam, are gradually seizing control of independent radio stations and using them to broadcast their religious and political propaganda.” That is to say, a ongoing and overt seizure by a fundamentalist religious government of all media space in order to push propaganda. Remember when they also banned music on the radio in Mogadishu? Yeah, me too.

Whatever you think of Kagame, Kigali is no Mogadishu. Even exiled journalists who don’t like the current government concede that 40 percent of the media here is privately owned. What RSF’s press materials don’t talk about – and what its methodology does not convince me it has any idea how to measure (even though it claims to account for this) – is self-censorship. But because the variable is far from robust (which is really too bad), I’m going to ignore it.

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