Foreign journalists, who attended the first global summit on gender and media in Kigali, have condemned the reporters who fuelled the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, instead of working to prevent it.
The journalists made the remarks after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial center, the final resting place of over 250,000 victims.
Some journalists are renowned for having used their trade and influence on the society to call upon militias to kill the Tutsi, while the international media either ignored or misreported what was taking place in the country in 1994.
Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, a media consultant from Ghana, disclosed that if media had played their role professionally, the genocide would not have occurred.
“I will attribute the occurrence of Genocide to failure of journalists because they did not put the information to the international community beforehand,” she said in interview.
“Journalists should be part of building their nations, not destroying them to a magnitude of what I have seen here. It’s a big lesson for our continent.”
Lesotho journalist, Marafaele Mowobodi, acknowledged that media should always demonstrate objectivity and avoid indulgence in politics, which he said is a source of violence that results in deaths.
“It’s horrible. Media should be positive because journalists play a big role on the democratisation process in the world. Why should a journalist engage in politics? I am disappointed that even international media did not give the true picture of what was going on in Rwanda,” she said.
The president of the International Federation of Journalist (IFJ), Jim Boumelha urged the government to be keen on journalists to ensure they follow ethics to avoid a recurrence of the happenings in 1994.
“I am a journalist and I have visited different holocaust memorials in Jerusalem (Israel) and in other countries but what I have seen here is depressing. I think what should be done is that the Rwandan government should know how to handle journalists to avoid what they did in 1994,” he said.