KIGALI, Feb. 23- Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) on
Wednesday suspended local radio station Amazing Grace FM for 30 days for
airing a sermon that was perceived as discriminatory against women.
The radio station failed to comply with Rwandan culture, norms and values
as well as terms of its licence, said a statement issued by RURA. The
station is hereby ordered “to suspend all the broadcasting services for
thirty calendar days and pay an administrative fine of two million Rwandan
Francs (about 2,331 U.S. dollars) within a period of 15 days effective the
date of this order”, said the statement. In the sermon aired live on Jan.
29, pastor Nicolas Niyibikora said women are “source of evil.” Niyibikora’s
sermon, delivered in Kinyarwanda, immediately went viral on social media,
igniting anger among women rights activists, with some commentators
describing the message as divisive.
The preaching was condemned by the National Women’s Association and Rwanda
Women Journalists’ Association who filed separate complaints to Rwanda
Media Commission (RMC), the media self-regulatory body.RMC had requested
RURA to suspend the Kigali-based station for three months. RURA decided to
fine the station in addition to the suspension. The station’s proprietor
Gregg Schoof, who is an American evangelist, expressed remorse over the
sermon in a public hearing at the RMC office in Kigali last week. Speaking
to Xinhua on Wednesday, Emma Marie Bugingo, executive secretary of an
umbrella organization of women associations Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe,
welcomed RURA decision to suspend Amazing Grace FM. “One month is a short
period of time compared to the words uttered by that shameful preacher.
Women are source of dignity, love and a strong family. They are among the
strongest pillars of our country,” said Bugingo. – XINHUA