BBC documentary probe should bring all to light

Rwandans in their overwhelming majority are well aware of the role BBC, and its growing cadre of neo-Hutu Power ideologues, has been playing in regularly hosting guests who distort the reality, inverse the roles and in many other ways big and small trivialise the Genocide against Rwanda's Tutsi.
Rwandan youth demonstrate against the BBC documentary. (File)
Rwandan youth demonstrate against the BBC documentary. (File)

Editor,

I would like to react to on the story, “BBC probe team begins work tomorrow” (The New Times, November 18)

Rwandans in their overwhelming majority are well aware of the role BBC, and its growing cadre of neo-Hutu Power ideologues, has been playing in regularly hosting guests who distort the reality, inverse the roles and in many other ways big and small trivialise the Genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi.

Yes, by all means, let the commission catalogue the many instances in which the BBC has offended (and breached our anti-Genocide laws even as it was hosted on our territory).

But we would be even better served if the commission could help us understand the genesis of and the motives behind the extreme anti-Rwanda Government bias of the BBC and the remedies open to Rwanda to counter the broadcaster’s attacks.

We are also aware that the BBC’s antagonism against Rwanda is not an outlier attitude where major Western media are concerned. We have seen similarly extremely slanted reporting from the likes of VoA, The New York Times, and many others.

Let us not mention the many French (most of them government-owned or closely influenced) media organisations as it would be naive to expect much else from that direction. But it is important for us to understand the influences that are shaping the distorted coverage of Rwanda by the likes of the BBC.

It is particularly important to try and get to the bottom of this as the role of the media in seeding and nurturing the hatred that led inexorably to the Genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi remains indelibly etched in our consciousness.

Many of us have an irresistible sense of déjà-vu where the BBC’s Rwanda programming—as well as that of many of its major Western media counterparts—is concerned.

Of course BBC management would vehemently deny it and accuse Rwandans of over-reacting to what they will likely claim as their traditional exercise of freedom of expression and the autonomy of their programme producers and presenters.

But for us who have been victims of similar license in spreading venom and clever calls to mass murder and extermination we find it very easy to recognise the Kangura and RTLM practices in what the BBC is now unashamedly lading out on Rwanda.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given many of their senior Rwandan presenters, producers and editors share the ideology of the senior executives of the Rwandan media of genocide.

Let us bring everything out in the open to deprive the BBC in the future of the possibility of pleading in their defence that they did not know the dangerous and very slippery slope into genocide promotion the likes of Ally Yusuf Mugenzi were leading them.

Mwene Kalinda

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