KIGALI - AS one of the activities organized in preparation of the World Press Freedom Day, media practitioners yesterday honoured victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Hundreds of journalists from various media houses converged at ETO-Kicukiro where they marched to the Nyanza Memorial Site in Kucukiro district, in honour 49 journalists who were killed during the Genocide.
At the site, a minute of silence to honour the over 4,500 victims who were massacred at the Nyanza Hill was observed.
IBUKA president, Theodore Simburudari, gave a brief history of the site and said that all people who were killed in Nyanza were led to the site all the way from ETO.
“This site was put in place as a sign of the cowardice by the international community during the 1994 Genocide, because, UN peacekeepers, mainly Belgians, failed to protect people who had gone to their camp expecting protection,” said Simburudari.
He pointed an accusing finger at media houses like Kangura and RTLM who scaled up the hate media campaign at the time who called upon Rwandans to kill their fellow countrymen.
“Some people claim that journalists who incited people to kill were not trained, but records show that most of them were learned and trained in the field,” remarked Simburudari.
Speaking at the site, veteran journalist, Amabilis Siboman,a who worked with Radio Rwanda before, during and after the Genocide, shed light on the role of the media in the tragedy that left over a million lives, and also advised on what the media ought to do in helping rebuild the country.
He dismissed reports that there is no press freedom in Rwanda and said that the Rwandan Constitution and the new media law clearly show that the there is freedom of the press.
“We need to have a law-abiding media if we are to take part in rebuilding the society,” he said.
Addressing Journalists, the acting Minister of Information and Minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs, Protais Musoni, said that it was a period of remembering those who died and learn from the past.
“The past should help steer us towards what we have to do while rebuilding our country,” he said, adding that there was need to draw lessons from the past which should also form the basis for building a brighter future.
The minister called upon the media practioners to always try to right the wrongs among themselves even before government intervention.
This year’s theme is ‘Freedom of Information: The Right to Know.’ and national celebrations will be held at Catholic Institute of Kabgayi in Muhanga district on May 3.