Kwibuka 25: What role should media play in the healing process?

Media platforms have to be used to expose and fight against those with Genocide ideology.

A number of people have been injured physically, emotionally and psychologically as a result of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. As many are trying to heal, others are still wrecked. Although there are many initiatives put in place to enable the Genocide survivors to heal, the media industry cannot be left out in this process.

Journalists, as the eyes and ears of the public, have a big role to play in facilitating a smooth healing process of Rwandans.

According to Bruno Ark Agaba, an Advisor at Rwanda Broadcasting Agency; magazines, newspapers, radios and television stations, should be a platform that writes feature stories or air out programs and talk shows that give a chance to experts to advise on how people can heal from trauma, stress and denial.

He says such shows or stories shouldn’t only be published or appear once in a year during Kwibuka, but rather more often like, three times a week or even daily if possible because healing is a continuous process.

In such shows or stories, Agaba stresses that there should be successful stories of people that have managed to heal from pain and how they did, as this would encourage many people who could seem to have given up, thinking that there is no hope.

He states that media should cover events for example the ones that require advocacy.

Advocacy ought to be given to the Genocide survivors, for instance; the Government should provide support to people willing to give any help to Genocide survivors, yet lack tools and finances, he says.

It should be the media’s responsibility to find challenges faced by the people traumatised and connect them to agencies, and organisations that can find solutions for them, Agaba adds.

“Media platforms have to be used to expose and fight against the people who still tolerate Genocide ideology. Use Twitter, Instagram, TV, newspapers and all forms of media to communicate the truth about the history of Rwanda. That way, Genocide survivors can be comforted. There is no excuse for silence,” says Jean de Dieu Akayezu, a journalist at IGIHE.

Agaba states that, the media should follow-up with the Ministry of Justice to enable or ensure that there is accountability and that all perpetrators are facing the Law.

He further notes that it is the role of the media to report on the effectiveness or failure to access the money and support that is supposed to be given to the Genocide survivors by the institutions that are invented to offer such support to them. They could not be able to pass on their voices but the media can be a mouth piece to help them get all the support they deserve.