Rwanda / Africa

Journalists attacked in Rwanda since 1992

  

Hopes of independent press in Rwanda fade as head of media body flees

Rwanda’s progress towards a more liberal media environment has been short-lived. In May Fred Muvunyi, the head of the Rwanda Media Commission, fled the country for fear of being detained or attacked, and the country’s telecommunications regulator suspended the operation agreement for the BBC’s Great Lakes radio service indefinitely.

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A screenshot of the BBC Two documentary Rwanda's Untold Story, which led to the BBC's Kinyarwanda radio service being suspended in Rwanda.

BBC’s Rwanda documentary leads to illogical, illegal suspension

When the BBC released in early October its televised documentary “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” which questioned official accounts of the 1994 genocide, a massive outcry inside and outside Rwanda’s borders ensued. Locals and foreigners alike protested the documentary’s findings, parliamentarians demanded a ban and legal action, and authorities summarily suspended BBC’s vernacular Kinyarwanda news service, the…

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame and First Lady Janet Kagame lay a wreath at a genocide memorial in Kigali on April 7. (AFP/Simon Maina)

20 years after genocide, Rwanda safe, clean, undemocratic

“Do not forget the genocide,” said the voice of a state broadcast announcer in Kigali crackling through a cheap car radio, referring to the organized slaughter 20 years ago of more than 10 percent of the population. “We are all one now,” he said, speaking in Rwanda’s common language of Kinyarwanda, and meaning that Rwandans…

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An international journalist was denied entry to Rwanda after discovering that a pro-government Twitter account had been falsified by someone within the office of President Paul Kagame, pictured. (Reuters/Ruben Sprich)

Twitter war shines light on how Rwanda intimidates press

“@RFI speak straight up English, frenchie!! U crying? U started not to make sense,” was one taunting tweet from a certain prolific Twitter account belonging to “Richard Goldston.” The account, since deleted, belonging to a self-proclaimed “anti-imperialist,” repeatedly antagonized Radio France Internationale journalist Sonia Rolley for her critical coverage of the deaths of Rwandan government…

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Saidati Mukakibib, left, and Agnes Uwimana Nkusi sit in Rwandan Supreme Court in January 2012. (AFP/Steve Terrill)

Jailed Rwandan editors turn to African Commission

Among the 232 journalists imprisoned around the world are Rwandan editors Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi, who are serving years-long terms on charges they defamed the president, Paul Kagame, and incited violence. Their crime? The women had published a series of stories in 2010 on several sensitive issues the Kagame government doesn’t want scrutinized. The…

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Defining role of the press in genocide prevention

Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis’ most infamous death factory.

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Gasasira in exile. (Gasasira)

Rwandan exiled journalist comes out of hiding

I must have received at least a dozen communications from worried friends and colleagues, asking the whereabouts of the chief editor of the highly critical Rwandan website, Umuvugizi. By mid-January, no one had heard from John Bosco Gasasira, nothing new had been published on Umuvugizi since January 11, and his cell phones were switched off.…

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CPJ

In Nairobi, plans to improve aid to exiled journalists

Kassahun Yilma left Ethiopia quickly in December 2009. He didn’t have time to save money for the journey, choose a place to go, arrange housing or a job. He left his wife, his mother, his house and all his friends behind. Yilma didn’t know what lay ahead. He only knew that if he stayed, he…

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Charles Ingabire was shot dead at 32. (Ally Mugenzi/BBC)

The silent funeral of an exiled Rwandan journalist

The crime reporter for Uganda’s vibrant Daily Monitor, Andrew Bagala, went to an odd funeral over the weekend. Last week, he covered the murder of online journalist Charles Ingabire, 32, who was shot dead in the early hours of Thursday morning by unknown gunmen at a bar in a Kampala suburb. “I decided to follow…

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(Izuba)

Rwandan paper calls president a ‘sociopath’, apologizes

Sometimes when a paper produces a defamatory piece, an apology will be published on page two in the next edition along with the day’s news. In Rwanda, it would appear, a paper will use an entire edition to apologize–if the insults were directed at the president. The latest issue of Ishema, at left, is perhaps a…

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