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Rwanda radio transcripts
The Role of Radio
During the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, radio broadcasts played an important role in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacres of their Tutsi, and moderate Hutu, neighbours. Two major radio stations transmitted hate propaganda to the illiterate masses--Radio Rwanda, and Radio Télévision des Milles Collines (RTLM). Radio Rwanda was the official government owned radio station. Under the second Arusha Accord it was barred from continuing to disseminate hate propaganda. This led the Hutu Power circle around President Habyarimana and his wife to found RTLM as a private radio station. RTLM became immensely popular as a young, hip alternative to the official voice of the government. It played popular music, and encouraged the public to phone in and participate in radio broadcasts. Amongst its listeners, RTLM attracted the unemployed youth and Interhamwe militia.
From October 1993 to late 1994, RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to advance an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tutsi disinformation, spreading fear of a Tutsi genocide against Hutu, identifying specific Tutsi targets or areas where they could be found, and encouraging the progress of the genocide. In April 1994, Radio Rwanda began to advance a similar message, speaking for the national authorities, issuing directives on how and where to kill Tutsis, and congratulating those who had already taken part.
Radio Muhabura (Radio Beacon) was the official radio of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The broadcasts of Radio Muhabura did not reach Rwandans all over the country and the logic of its broadcasts was that Rwandans were not divided into Hutu and Tutsi but shared a strong civic national identity. This was in marked contrast to the Hutu Power themes of RTLM’s broadcasts.
Although there were many pleas for the international community to jam the broadcasts of RTLM and Radio Rwanda before and during the genocide, both stations continued to encourage and direct the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus until they were forced off the air by the Rwanda Patriotic Front’s military victories.
On these pages, MIGS provides the transcripts from a large number of the radio broadcasts from before and during the 1994 genocide. They are available in English, French and Kinyarwanda and are in in PDF format.
MIGS gratefully extends its thanks for help in obtaining these materials to the following persons:
- Prof. Allan Thompson of the Carleton University School of Journalism, Ottawa
- Jonas Mutwaza, Associate Librarian, Umusanzu mu Bwiyunge
- The staff of the Outreach Library of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Kigali
- Prof. William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights of the National University of Ireland, Galway
- Patrick Reed, maker of documentary films at White Pine Films, Toronto
- Martin Ngoga, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Rwanda, Kigali
- Jean Bosco Mutangana, Senior Prosecutor, Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Rwanda, Kigali
- Freddy Mutanguha, director of the Kigali Memorial Center (KMC) at Gisozi
Thanks are also due for organizing and mounting these materials to Nadav Aigen and Alexandra Buskie, administrative assistants to the Director of MIGS, and to Philippe Rieder, a MIGS Graduate Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at Concordia University.