When human beings are at their worst, as they most certainly were in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide the world needs the institutions of journalism and the media to be at their best. Sadly, in Rwanda, the media fell short. Media and Mass atrocity revisits the case of Rwanda but also examines how the connection between media and mass atrocity has been shaped by the dramatic rise of social media.
Twenty-five years ago, the Rwandan government launched a meticulously planned genocide against its Tutsi minority. It killed approximately 800 000 people in 100 days. We can’t reflect on the history of the 1994 genocide without considering the critical role the media played in both inciting and prolonging the violence.
The non-paper’s emphasis is on the function, role, and responsibility of journalists, particularly during armed conflict; something which too often is taken for granted. The experience of the war in Syria should be a grim reminder that, at least from the western perspective, the targeting of journalists from the early days of the conflict, and the difficulty which they faced in trying to do their job, likely contributed to the paucity of momentum in pushing for diplomatic and political efforts to effectively end the conflict.
This paper reports on an empirical study of radio media effects in mobilization for violence in the genocide. The focus of the paper is the most infamous radio station in Rwanda operating before and during the genocide, Radio-Télévision Libre Milles Collines (RTLM), which was a semi-private station launched in 1993. In broad terms, the paper casts doubt on the conventional wisdom that RTLM broadcasts were directly responsible for the onset of violence throughout the country and for most mass mobilization during the genocide.
Art photography, it is argued, may help transform the viewers from being consuming spectators into being participant witnesses who self-critically reflect upon their own subject positions in relation to the conditions depicted in the image. By discussing photography of the aftermath of the genocide, the article acknowledges the unrepresentability of genocide; by focusing on visual representations, it reflects the extent to which political space is nowadays constituted by means of images; by concentrating on Rwanda, it contributes to the necessary process of examination and self-examination in connection with the killings.
The importance of hate radio pervades commentary on the genocide against the Tutsi, and Rwanda has become a paradigmatic case of media sparking extreme violence. However, there exists little social scientific analysis of radio’s impact on the onset of genocide and the mobilization of genocide participants. Through an analysis of exposure, timing, and content as well as interviews with perpetrators, the article refutes the conventional wisdom that broadcasts from the notorious radio station RTLM were a primary determinant of genocide. Instead, the article finds evidence of conditional media effects, which take on significance only when situated in a broader context of violence.
This article discusses whether education limits or exacerbates the effects of state sponsored propaganda on political violence. It provides evidence of the hypothesis that basic education can limit the effectiveness of propaganda by increasing access to alternative media sources. It shows that the propaganda disseminated by the “hate radio” station RTLM did not affect participation in violence in villages where education levels, as measured by literacy rates, were relatively high. A discussion of the potential underlying mechanisms driving the results is presented.
The author seeks to integrate the perspectives and experiences of radio listeners with broader considerations about the study of the Rwandan genocide and mass atrocity more generally. He argues that the question of RTLM’s role in the genocide can be elucidated through three aspects: ideologically, it played on existing dominant discourses in Rwandan public life for the purposes of encouraging listeners to participate in the killings; performatively, the station’s animateurs skilfully exploited the possibilities of the medium to create a dynamic relationship with and among listeners; and finally, RTLM helped the Rwandan state appropriate one of the most innocuous aspects of everyday life in the service of the genocide.
The author argues that the question of RTLM’s role in the genocide can be elucidated through three aspects: ideologically, it played on existing dominant discourses in Rwandan public life for the purposes of encouraging listeners to participate in the killings; performatively, the station’s animateurs skilfully exploited the possibilities of the medium to create a dynamic relationship with and among listeners; and finally, RTLM helped the Rwandan state appropriate one of the most innocuous aspects of everyday life in the service of the genocide.
In a gripping narrative that examines the power of the press and sheds light on how the media turned tens of thousands of ordinary Rwandans into murderers, the author traces the rise and fall of three media executives — Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, and Hassan Ngeze. From crime to trial to verdict, Temple-Raston explores the many avenues of justice Rwanda pursued in the decade after the killing. Focusing on the media trial at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, she then drops down to the level of the hills, where ordinary Rwandans seek justice and retribution, and examines whether politics in the East African nation has set the stage for renewed violence.
Experts have called on authorities in South Sudan to develop laws to combat rampant hate speech and online incitement, which they said have caused more violence and ethnic polarization since 2013. Speaking during a workshop on hate speech in Juba, the experts said rumours, fake news and newly adapted rhetoric of using symbols and images that carry hate messages has fuelled hatred, ethnic divisions and incitement to violence.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has said that they are ready to crack down on hate speech and hold culprits accountable, especially during presidential elections. This warning comes after one of the presidential candidates, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, was insulted on social media. An incident Habineza confirmed via his twitter handle that he had reported to police.