Speaking during the on-going 5th Regional Media Summit being held in Rwanda, President Kagame said the Western media seem to dictate the content for local outlets in East Africa and they seem content to be playing along like puppets.
"Despite what they say, our countries exercise total media freedom and there is a lot to be covered locally without our outlets being forced to lap up after foreign media in terms of both content and outlook," President Kagame said.
"Of late there have been an influx of foreign correspondents and media representatives from overseas coming into the region to dictate to us what we should or should not do and these have been covering and writing about our issues from their own perspective and reasoning," he said.
On his part, the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Dr Richard Sezibera called upon the traditional mainstream media outlets in the region to change their approaches, in the wake of the new digital media.
"Traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television stations are not about to be rendered obsolete by digital and social media, instead they now have a new and in-depth role of interpreting and digesting what is being churned out by online networks into logical and better detailed or balanced analysis," he said.
He said the public needs better explanation and logical interpretations of all that is being published online through social networking outlets, blogs and discussion threads most of which are raw, poorly edited and with exaggerated accounts.
Dr Sezibera also noted that in the case of Tanzania, while it has the highest number of print and electronic media outlets in the region, the total penetration in terms of circulation and coverage was still less than 10 per cent.