KIGALI - Rwanda Information Office (ORINFOR) has stopped airing graphic images of Genocide on Rwanda Television (RTV), after complaints from the public, that the images increase cases of trauma.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, the Acting Director General of ORINFOR, Willy Rukundo, said that the public complained that the gruesome pictures aired on television and in documentary films during the Genocide commemoration period, are quite disturbing.
The national commemoration week starts on April 7.
“We were advised by psychologists to tone down the screening of the images because they cause trauma, especially among Genocide survivors and children,” he added.
He stated that ORINFOR, as a public broadcaster, has decided to regulate the screening of those images.
Rukundo stressed that although the images keep alive the memory of what happened, people’s psychology is affected negatively.
“We are producing our own documentaries and some pieces of music from some individuals showing how the genocide happened, without using very graphic pictures, and that is what will be aired during the upcoming commemoration period,” he explained.
Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the Coordinator of Mental Health in the Ministry of Health, said that in order to reduce trauma cases, the screening of shocking images should be stopped.
“Images expose people to more cases of trauma, especially among Genocide survivors and children who watch them,” she pointed out.
Kayitenshonga mentioned that survivors, who witnessed brutal killings and destruction of their homes during the Genocide, will not recover if they continue viewing the scenes.
However, Dr. Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of IBUKA, does not agree, adding that RTV should first prepare the public by warning them what type of images they were going to watch before airing them.
‘’Modifying Genocide images would translate to trivialising the Genocide, and that it would not depict how it really happened,” Dusingizemungu noted.
He underscored that the images is evidence that the genocide against the Tutsi took place in Rwanda in 1994, and they preserve the history of what happened, for the future generation.
Freddy Mutanguha the Director of the Kigali Memorial Centre (KMC), also concurred with Dusingizemungu, but advised that instead censuring the images that there was need to physiologically prepare RTV audiences, before screening them.