Rwanda sets Youtube Channels registration guidelines

Rwanda Media Commission has issued gudidelines on Youtube Channel registration so to instruct internet content creators and publishers to observe the laws governing the media in general so as to do their online work ethically .



Referring to Article 20 of the Law No. 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media in Rwanda that instruct internet content creators and publishers to observe the laws governing the media in general so as to do their online work ethically,

Considering that Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) has a duty and responsibility to ensure compliance with the ethical practices of the media for public interest considerations in accordance to Articles 2 (20) and 4 of the Law No.02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media,

Acknowledging that the new normal with journalism work is to use social media platforms to publish their work especially on YouTube social media platform and that it has become most influential social media platform used by journalists to reach a wider audience and across the globe to inform, entertain and engage global publics,

Reaffirming the conviction that the consolidation and development of democracy depend upon the existence of freedom of expression, open debate of ideas and opinions, and individuals’ access to information.

Basing on the discussion and debates in a seminar that was held on 13th December 2019 by RMC for Journalists publishing their work on YouTube and the recommendation to register their channels for recognition as media platforms and commitment to be held accountable and enjoy rights in accordance to the Rwanda Journalists and Media Practitioners Code of Deontology and Ethics and other laws,

The RMC board of commissioners meeting in its board meeting of 21/08/2020 hereby adopts the following guidelines;


Article One: Purpose The purpose of these guidelines is to establish a registration framework of journalistic content published or broadcasted on YouTube social media platform by journalists.

Article 2: Scope

These guidelines shall apply to any natural or legal person who intends to publish or broadcast journalistic content on YouTube social media platform with intention to inform, educate, and entertain the public in accordance with the standards and ethics of the journalism and guidelines administered by RMC.


Article 3: Registration Regime

Any person who intends to publish or broadcast YouTube Journalistic content to the general public must apply for registration to Rwanda Media Commission.

Article 4: Validity of registration certificate

A certificate issued by RMC to media workers on YouTube lasts for three (3) years, and that certificate can be renewed.

Article 5: Renewal of the Registration Certificate

Anyone with a valid YouTube license can request that it be renewed, and do so at least thirty (30) days before the shared decision expires. At the beginning of the process to extend the work permit, the applicant submits his or her application to the RMC, considers the application and decides whether to revise the decision or no longer add value, based on reasonable grounds.

The RMC may also request the extension agent to submit new application documents to complete the previously submitted applications.

The main reason for refusing to extend the decision is the non-compliance with the RMC guidelines on the issue, and the gross violation of the Code of Conduct and Standards, or any other reason for the RMC board of directors to take such a decision for non-compliance. other existing laws.


Article 6: General requirements

An applicant for shall submit to Rwanda Media Commission the following documents:

  1. A letter addressed to the Chairperson of Rwanda Media Commission;
  2. A copy of an ID or passport for owner of the YouTube Channel;
  3. Curriculum Vitae, copy of degree and supporting certificates of the owner, of the owner of the YouTube Channel;
  4. Copy of valid press card of the owner if he/she is a journalist;
  5. Detailed editorial line with description and scope of the content service;
  6. In case the owner is not a journalist, he/she is required to provide us the documents (National Identity Card, valid press card and detailed Curriculum Vitae) of a journalist experienced in editorial line he/she will work with and their employment contracts
  7. Copy of RDB Certificate of domestic company registration (Optional).

The Rwanda Media Commission may request any other information which may be necessary for the assessment of the application.

Article 7: Evaluation process of the license application

RMC shall conduct a preliminary evaluation of the application to determine whether the requirements are met. An incomplete application shall lose its validity within ten (10) days following the official notification from RMC to the applicant requesting to submit the missing documents. 

 Article 8: Decision on registration application

RMC shall declare its decision not later than thirty (30) working days from the date of receipt of a complete application.  After the assessment process, RMC shall either grant or refuse to grant the certificate to the applicant. In case the certificate is granted, it shall be collected by the applicant upon the payment of a registration fee. In case the application is rejected, RMC shall notify the applicant.

Article 9: Registration fee

The certificate registration fee shall be fixed at fifty thousand francs (50.000Rwf). This may however be increased or decreased subject to the decision of the board of commissioners. 

Article 10: General obligations of the applicant   The applicant has the following obligations: 

1. To facilitate the staff of RMC to verify for clarity any information submitted by the applicant including visiting their place of work if necessary;

2. To operate in respect with the laws, regulations and Rwanda Journalists and Media Practitioners Code of Deontology and Ethics in force and any specific guidelines issued by Rwanda Media Commission;

3. To have respect and consideration of matters relating to copyrights;

4. To Comply with the decisions made by RMC in case of complaint against him/her;

5. Avoid YouTube channel with sensational title;

6. He/She must be aware and accountable about all contents that pass through his/her YouTube channel

Article 11: Transfer of ownership rights

The transfer of a valid certificate in case of direct or indirect sale, lease or other transfer of activities done by the certified applicant is acceptable but this should be subject to a prior written approval and consent of (RMC). Such approval shall be granted after consideration of the matter and if the proposed transferee meets all the conditions for being granted the relevant certificate. 

Article 12: Certificate suspension

Rwanda Media Commission may suspend the certificate upon a determination of any of the following: 

1. Failure to comply with standards, guidelines and code of ethics;

2. A complete refusal to implement the decisions taken by the competent authority

Article 13: Public Right 

The registered YouTube channels serving the purpose of journalism must understand that information is considered to be a public good and constitutional right. Every journalist must therefore provide this service in a timely manner so that it may be useful resource for the development of the citizenry and for the full exertion of their rights.

Registered channels must acknowledge that Freedom of expression and the right to information are democratic norms consecrated in National and International Legislation and all practitioners should know them, defend them, and promote them.

Media practitioners on YouTube and other Social Media Platforms will respect the private life, image, and reputation of individuals, as well as their convictions and customs.   The public present a false perception of reality.


Article 14 : Source of this guidelines 

The guidelines are adopted by journalists on December 13, 2019 and will be respected and observed by all operators of registered YouTube channels in addition to all laws, regulations and codes of ethics governing the media profession in Rwanda.

Article 15 : Honesty and search for truth

Nonprofessional journalists publishing content online that is informative, educative and entertaining for purposes of public consumption shall abhor lies and search for truth while keeping in mind that the public has a right to true information. 

Article 16: Incitement to hatred, Violence and Obscenities

Members of the public should avoid uploading or disseminating content that is inciting hatred of whatsoever form (racial, tribal, ethnic, religious, gender, social status, disability, etc).

All content that is inciting violence, obscene and encouraging hostility or promoting illegal activities shall be avoided. 

Article 17: Respect for private life and human dignity

Content that is defaming, slandering, or ridiculing others with intent to reap off their dignity or attack to their private life shall be avoided.

Article 18: Protection of minors and victims of rape

Content relating to victims of rape should be published with sensitivity and caution. The identities of rape victims should not be published except if that serves their interest.

Article 19: Pornography content  

Publishing and disseminating pornography or sexually explicit content should be avoided.

Article 20: Harmful or dangerous content

Don’t post videos that encourage others to do things that might cause them to get badly hurt, especially kids. Videos showing such harmful or dangerous acts that glorify violence should be avoided.

Article 21: Harassment, cyber bullying and Threats

Posting abusive content, videos and comments on YouTube and other channels should be avoided. 

Things like predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information and inciting others to commit violent acts should be avoided.

Article 22: Child safety

Publishing or posting a child’s photo or video without his/her parents’ consent should be avoided.

Article 24: Plagiarism

Refrain from plagiarism and strive to respect intellectual property. Only upload content that you made or that you’re authorized to use.


Article 25: Code of Ethics

Media publishers using internet-based news are required to respect and adhere to ethical standards for professional journalists. They will also have to respect the code of ethics of journalists, entirely.

Article 26: Ad-hoc Ethics Committee

When a journalist, given the fact that he/she continues to insist and resist the decisions of the RMC commissioners, or when he/she misbehaves, he/she will be referred to the RMC Ad-hoc Ethics Committee.

  Article 27: Members of the ad-hoc Ethics Committee

Five (5) journalists appointed by the RMC Secretariat compose the ad-hoc Ethics Committee. Basing on their experience and honesty, as media professionals. The names of the selected journalists are submitted to the RMC Executive Committee. This committee is convened by the RMC Secretariat, following the request of the RMC Bureau.

Article 28: Responsibilities and Decisions of the Ad-hoc Ethics Committee

At the request of the RMC Management, the Adhoc Ethics Committee is responsible for warning and advising journalists.   The decisions of the Ad-hoc Ethics Committee shall be executed after the signature of RMC Chairperson.


Article 28: Amendment of the present regulations

Due to the speed of technology, these directives can be revised whenever necessary, in order to improve the media functioning and to the benefit of the public.

Article 30: Final dispositions

These directives will come into force when signed by the president of the RMC, will be effectively and widely published, to the maximum awareness of journalists, so to apply them.

Signed by, Cléophas BARORE  Chairperson of RMC Kigali,

On September 21st, 2020



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