Though many concur with me that, despite the role of media in the 1994 Genocide, very little or something nearer to nothing has been done to promote media for peace.
I am very grateful for theatrical Musekeweya’s drama, unity and reconciliation Radio Rwanda’s programmes and few others trying media for peace route.
As much as the media is important to national development, it is equally detrimental to the society if its messages are not oriented to the desired positive societal goals and values.
Indeed, journalism is a double edged sword. Rwanda and the entire world is aware of the hate propaganda by Kangura and Radio Télévsion des Mille Colline, Nyiramacibiri, Le Flambeau among others.
Because of the role of Media in the Genocide in Rwanda, the entire world has been awakened to be careful with erratic and hate Media. The 1959 and 1994 ethnic conflicts and subsequent Genocide brings the relationship between mass murders and mass media very closer.
In effect, the UN mandated University for Peace based in Costa Rica took it into consideration to include the role of the media in Rwandan Genocide as its module among other major modules for Masters in Media, Conflict and Peace studies.
Of course, as UN mandated University, the survival of humanity rests in its hands. Therefore, Peace studies are not only relevant, practical but also needful especially in the Genocide/conflict torn societies.
All academic, media and other key institutions in the post Genocide Rwanda should not overlook Genocide Prevention and Peace studies. These are not merely academic pursuits but fundamental prerequisites for the sustainability of prosperous and peaceful nations. For Genocide to happen was not sudden. It was planned, institutionalized and executed. It is against this, that Genocide Prevention and Peace Studies need to be included in Rwandan academic institutions right from primary to higher learning institutions for Unity and reconciliation, tolerance and co-existence to thrive.
Not to go off from the original thinking, a special focus on the media is very important owing to its afore-mentioned destructive or constructive roles to the society.
Why in a one similar event, do journalists prefer the sinister angle of the news story? Many media practitioners will arguably respond that, editorials determine the content. Money pursuits override other journalistic principles. People are by nature created differently thus perceive things differently. These are some of the answers likely to emerge when such pertinent question arises.
Yes, even journalism professors professed it that, ‘when it breeds, it sells!”
The media in Rwanda between 1990 up to 1994, allied with Genocidal government to guide militias and mass murderers to the whereabouts of hiding Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This culminated into a total loss of an estimated one million innocent lives.
To date, I have not heard media fraternity or individual media organs or the Ministry in charge or Council, solemnly regretting for the media role in Rwandan conflicts and eventual Genocide of Tutsi in 1994.
Available archives show that even Kinyamateka---the holy mouth pierce for Catholic Church and Rwanda’s first newspaper created in 1930 sow, propagated hated campaign. As we ponder for the way out from Genocide shocks to a new Rwanda based on truth, the media owes Rwandans genuine guilty pleas and thereafter seeks forgiveness.
Of recent, Rwandans from all walks of life were awarded medals for their heroic stand against evil (read Genocide). It was amazing seeing Mama Nayiturika, a Catholic num of Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux enthusiastically receiving her Heroic medal of recognition for saving lives of high school students in Rwamagana.
Though this was done at individual level, Heroic award to Nayituriki in a white Catholic vein gave a small doze of relief to the Catholic Church for its alleged role in 1994 Genocide.
No journalist got any medal ward and in itself shows the magnitude of how the media ignored doing the right thing and opted to do the worst evil. Naturally, more so in African societies, heroes are awarded and villains rebuked.
The absurd thing in the intellectual world is to negate visible facts and applaud fictions. It is my call that the post Genocide media should learn from history. Independence and objectivity many journalists usually cite and recite as a basis for their negation of visible progress by their respective governments is primarily self-negation. It was regrettable that, the media supposedly to be man’s saviour manoeuvred the wrong path by siding with evil as manifested in its active participation in the 1994 Genocide. But is not yet too late to start promoting media for peace as Rwanda’s rightful path to sustainable peace and stability.