Three media houses faulted on commemoration coverage

The National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) has called on the media to have a responsible attitude during the covering of Genocide commemoration events.

The National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) has called on the media to have a responsible attitude during the covering of Genocide commemoration events.

It faulted three unnamed broadcasting houses which played dirges but no journalists would host a programme related to commemoration.

“On April 7, some media houses practically went on holiday and only left music playing which is against the agreement we had a week before the memorial week,” Gaspard Gasasira, the media relations officer at CNLG told The New Times yesterday.

“We have no intention to name these broadcasters even though CNLG plans to meet with the media owners to review their cooperation and the way forward.”

The meeting, scheduled for next month, will involve Media High Council and the self-regulatory body of journalists. Cléophas Barore, the vice president of Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ), says it would be difficult to tell why certain stations replaced programming with commemoration songs but argues that whichever media outlet played songs could have done so to avoid cases where people just call in to propagate genocide ideology.

“I can’t tell clearly the reasons but caution might be the reason of playing songs and omit talk shows and programmes. But if these broadcasters have other reasons, we need to know why,” Barore said.

CNLG, however, says media houses played an important role in mobilising the people to participate in activities of commemoration at the village level, highlighting living conditions of survivors in the villages and giving airtime and space to the commemoration activities.

The assessment is not conclusive as CNLG says that there is more than 80 days to go before the end of 100-days during which over a million lives perished.

Emmanuel Mugisha, the executive secretary of the Media High Council, says the council is still compiling a report on how the media behaved during the memorial week.

But he added that the media normally give excuses that they lack resources required for content generation and opt to play dirges.

Media and a 100 days period

Media outlets – both audio-visual and print – have been asked to continue allocating  time to programmes that comfort survivors.

“After the official memorial week, media coverage of commemoration activities stops yet it’s the hardest time for survivors as most of them have fresh memories of the tragedy,” the CNLG official said.

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