Journalism and Genocide

Journalism and Genocide

‘To understand why three journalists from Rwanda are on trial
for war crimes,’ explains Dina Temple-Raston of the Columbia
Journalism Review, ‘one must know that, in rural areas of that
country, radio is king.’ That leaves a big responsibility for radio
journalists, a responsibility that they exploited by urging
listeners to kill the Tutsi minority before and during the 1994
genocide.

Prior to the killings, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco
Barayagwiza, founders of talk radio station Radio Milles Collines,
and Hassan Ngeze, editor of the extremist paper, Kangura, told
anti-Tutsi jokes, played songs that hinted at killing Tutsi, and
told the Hutu majority to ‘show no mercy to the Tutsi minority,
which was plotting to seize power in Rwanda.’ When the killing
spree began, Radio Milles Collines announced where important Tutsi
were hiding, their license plate numbers, and called for the
government to supply the Hutu with weapons to kill the Tutsi.

These three are the first journalists to be accused of crimes
against humanity since Der Sturmer writer Julius Streicher during
the Nazi regime. And while the verdict will be on the journalists,
the outcome will certainly question the responsibilities of a free
press.
–Abbie Jarman
Go there >>

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.