Radio and the Rwandan Genocide

Title: Radio and the Rwandan Genocide
Authors: Rabiya, Asad
Date: 2014-01-11
Abstract: 1994 marked a dark period in Rwanda's history, as it saw the near extermination of the Tutsi minority at the hands of Rwanda's Hutu majority. But what mobilized an entire ethnic majority to commit such heinous crimes? The role of media has attracted a lot of attention and research in relation to this question. Media, especially in the form of radio, is noted to have played a persuasive as well as logistical role in the incitement of violence. However, further study reveals that it did so in the context of other local factors such as reinforcing government messages and the rhetoric of genocide that had already been introduced by other sources. In this way, radio operated in a pre-existing framework and further promoted the genocide but it did not instigate it on its own. Furthermore, as interviews with listeners of the radio reveal, radio broadcasts were actively debated and reflected upon by their audiences, meaning that the audience was not always convinced by the messages they were receiving. However, drawing on the pre-existing framework, the radio broadcasts' genocide propaganda was able to form the norm, and while resisting the propaganda may not have been impossible, it certainly was hard. It is through this role of routinization and normalization of the genocide, therefore, that the media made its greatest mark.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
ASAD, Rabiya 20145.pdf414.14 kBAdobe PDFOpen