News / Africa

Did Media Underreport Rwandan Genocide?

Media and Genocide Prevention: What have we learned from Rwanda?i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
April 04, 2014 7:33 PM
The Voice of America hosted a panel discussion April 2, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.
Robert Daguillard
It’s been 20 years since genocide claimed the lives of at least 800,000 Rwandans. As part of the commemoration of the event, VOA this week hosted a panel discussion  - focusing on longstanding criticism that international news media underreported the 1994 massacres.

Rwanda was in the midst of a civil war in 1994 and extremist media were encouraging ethnic hatred against minority Tutsis in the run-up to the genocide. At the same time,  Allan Thompson of Carleton University in Canada said Rwanda was a low priority for international media even after the massacres began on April 7.

"I think international media, by its virtual absence did contribute to those events," said Thompson.

Thompson’s pointed "Not until several weeks into the genocide did international media really begin reporting on the killings carried out by extremist majority ethnic Hutus."

Thompson, a former foreign correspondent, was speaking at a panel on Media and Genocide Prevention this week at VOA headquarters in Washington. Also among the panelists was Michael Dobbs of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, who said the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina partly explains the media’s relative lack of interest in Rwanda at the time.

"The second big event at that time was the inauguration of  Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa so all the African reporters who probably would have gone immediately to Rwanda as soon as the killings began on April 6 and 7, they were all focused on this big event in South Africa," said Thompson.

Mark Nelson of the Center for International Media Assistance said reporting on the genocide was just very daunting even for seasoned and competent international reporters.

"It was really difficult for everybody to figure out what to do about it. The Wall Street Journal at the time didn’t have anybody in Africa except in South Africa. And it just did not seem like something we could to anything about," he said.

So, what have journalists and media learned from the Rwandan Genocide. Are media now better able to recognize possible warning signs of impending atrocities?
 
Idriss Fall of VOA’s French-to-Africa Service saw similarities between the work of extremist media in Rwanda in 1994 - and some newspapers in the Central African Republic today.   

"They don’t have a power radio like Mille Collines (former Rwandan radio station). But they have small newspapers, this size, and  most of them are doing a kind of insidious propaganda. Everything is there," he said.

The widespread persecution of the Central African Republic’s Muslim minority has created what the United Nations has called a pre-genocide situation . In 1994, The Rwandan genocide claimed the lives of at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the space of just three months.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid