Skip to main content

The Media and the Rwanda Genocide

Allan Thompson
Pluto Press, Fountain Publishers, IDRC

Available formats

The news media played a crucial role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide: local media fuelled the killings, while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued what was happening. 

This is the first book to explore both sides of that media equation. The book examines how local radio and print media were used as a tool of hate, encouraging neighbours to turn against each other. It also presents a critique of international media coverage of the cataclysmic events in Rwanda. Bringing together local reporters and commentators from Rwanda, high-profile Western journalists, and leading media theorists, this is the only book to identify and probe the extent of the media’s accountability. It also examines deliberations by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on the role of the media in the genocide. 

This book is a startling record of the dangerous influence that the media can have when used as a political tool or when news organizations and journalists fail to live up to their responsibilities. The authors put forward suggestions for the future by outlining how we can avoid censorship and propaganda, and by arguing for a new responsibility in media reporting. The book includes an opening statement from Kofi Annan and an introduction by Senator Roméo Dallaire. 

The editor 

Allan Thompson is a Professor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a columnist with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper. After working as a reporter with the Toronto Star for 17 years, Thompson took up a teaching position at Carleton in 2003 and now heads a media capacity-building project in Rwanda called the Rwanda Initiative.