The Rwanda media fraternity on Wednesday commemorated more that 50 journalists killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. During the event in Kigali, names of fallen journalists were read out and their photos displayed.
Speaking at the event, Arthur Asiimwe, Director General of Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), said the commemoration helps Rwandan media fraternity to reflect on the role the media played in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We need to reshape the image of the media because some of our former colleagues fuelled the Genocide and tainted the image of our profession,” Asiimwe said.
Commemoration songs and poems by renowned Rwandan artistes were performed in honour of the fallen scribes.
Besides lighting the Flame of Hope, there were testimonies by relatives of some of the fallen journalists. Therese Mukabadege remembered how her fallen husband, Martin Kamurase, was gunned down at their home in Nyakabanda, Nyarugenge District.
Mukabadege, who is yet to overcome the grief, said it took her time to find out the fate of the person behind her husband’s murder.
“After the Genocide, I committed to find out the fate of the journalist who had come with the Interahamwe militia that killed my husband in our living room. It was not until I read a report by the Media High Council detailing names of journalists that were involved in the Genocide that I discovered that he had also died,” Mukabadege said.
She said after the killing of her husband, her children became extremely traumatised.
She, however, said despite being a single mother, she has been able to educate her two children up to University. In 1994, many Rwandan journalists abandoned their cardinal role of being custodians of truth and harmony and instead fanned the Genocide.
Media organisations like Kangura and RTLM were inciting violence way before April 7, the day when the Genocide broke out. But there are also media practitioners who bore the brunt of the killings, those who were targeted on the basis of being either Tutsi or for speaking out against the genocidal plan.