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November 24 - 30, 2014

Media Monitoring Report for Rwanda
Posted on November 30, 2014

1. MONUSCO reaffirmed its determination to neutralise the FDLR
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 27th November 2014
“‘UN reaffirms call for FDLR's neutralisation” by Collins Mwai

  • The United Nations Security Council reiterated its full determination to forcefully disarm the FDLR if they do not surrender by January 2.
  • In a statement issued by the Council, they also condemned attacks on Monusco peacekeepers, saying any efforts to undermine the mission's ability to implement its mandate will not be tolerated.
2. Researchers testified before probe commission about BBC’s documentary
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 25th November 2014
„Sen. Nkusi appears before BBC probe commission“ by Edwin Musoni

  • Senator Prof. Laurent Nkusi appeared before the commission of inquiry, set up by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura) to investigate accusations of Genocide denial and revisionism leveled against the BBC.
  • Nkusi criticised Filip Reyntjens, a Belgian law professor, who „denies the Genocide and has relentlessly attacked the Kigali Government. "Reyntjens is a victim of his ego, he was denied entry into Rwanda yet he assumed he was an expert on Rwanda,“ said Nkusi.
  • Other researchers that the senator pointed out include Pierre Erny and Bernard Lugan who were once lecturers at the former National University of Rwanda. Nkusi told the inquiry that Erny left Rwanda around 1975 and has since fabricated his own narratives based on the past regimes. „Lugan is a man who can change anytime. He has even written documents claiming that researchers can change their perception on something at any given time. So definitely these men's credibility is highly questionable," Nkusi said.
  • The senator also wondered that all the witnesses interviewed by the BBC journalist were tried and convicted by the ICTR.

New Times, 26th November 2014
“‘BBC had an agenda to twist Rwanda history - UK expert” by Edwin Musoni

  • Before the commission of inquiry was also testifying Dr. Hazel Cameron, a renowned Scottish researcher. She told that the film crew contacted her prior to the shooting of the documentary seeking her opinion and confessed to her that they did not know anything about Rwanda and the Genocide.
  • Cameron, the first European to testify before the five-member probe team, spoke of her email correspondences with the documentary director, John Conroy, and reporter Jane Corbin, and how the duo inexplicably ignored her views.
  • "Conroy wrote to me saying he was making a proposal to the BBC about Rwanda's 20th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi and needed my expert opinion on people he should avoid interviewing. I gave him the list that included Prof. Filip Reyntjens, Allan Stam and Christian Davenport and others. To my surprise, he went for the exact people I told him to avoid," she said.
  • Cameron sent a protest letter to Corbin the same night the BBC2 aired the documentary but the latter did not reply. "The bias, negativity and lack of contextualisation of your reporting in tonight's documentary is disappointing. You chose not to situate the violence you alleged, for example in the DRC, through the lens of securitisation of Rwanda's borders in the aftermath of the Genocide," she wrote in her protest letter.

New Times, 28th November 2014
“‘BBC documentary relied on hostile sources, says Tanzanian editor”

  • Richard Mgamba, a prominent Tanzanian journalist, criticised the BBC for "lack of professional journalistic ethics" before the commission of inquiry.
  • He told that the BBC mainly relied on sources that are hostile to Rwanda and never took time to verify their claims. He described the type of journalism depicted in the documentary as a "flying squad" with unverified allegations that could destabilise Rwanda.

New Times, 30th November 2014
“‘Belgian senator joins in condemning BBC film”

  • In a letter addressed to Jim Grey, head of TV current affairs at BBC, Belgian Senator Alain Destexhe said it is "shameful that the BBC chose to broadcast such a biased documentary.“
  • Destexhe was Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières during the 1994 Genocide, and is well versed in Rwandan affairs. He also served as secretary into a special commission of inquiry of the Genocide set up by the Belgian Senate in 1997.
  • He particularly has an issue with the fact that the BBC extensively used two discredited Belgian nationals as the main source; university professor Filip Reyntjens and a former Belgian officer who was in Rwanda during the Genocide, Col. Luc Marchal.
  • "In Belgium, Filip Reyntjens is well-known for his partiality, his analysis of Rwanda along ethnical lines, his "pro-Hutu stance" and for having always been from the onset against the RPF," wrote the senator.
3. Kizito Mihigo dismissed his lawyers
Private but pro-government newspapers

New Times, 28th November 2014
“‘Kizito fires lawyers” by Edwin Musoni

  • Kizito Mihigo, a musician charged with terrorism, asked court to allow him dismiss his defence lawyers. Mihigo told the judges that he opted to stand trial without counsel.
  • Asked why he was taking this decision, he responded; "I pleaded guilty from the beginning but the way my lawyers are arguing the case, they sound like I actually pleaded not guilty." During the previous hearing, the advocates had pleaded that their client was innocent despite him having entered a guilty plea.
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