Local Government Minister, Francis Kaboneka, has called upon members of the media fraternity to take a leading role in fighting genocide deniers.
Minister Kaboneka told dozens of journalists gathered at the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) Headquarters to commemorate the genocide against the Tutsi that the media must stand up for the truth, the dignity of Rwandans and denounce genocide deniers.
The Minister’s call is informed by the fact that some journalists such as the notorious Kangura Chief Editor Hassan Ngeze and tens of others played a leading role in propagating the genocide.
He said journalists in Rwanda today must denounce such kind of inhumane acts and not fall prey of failure to report responsibly.
The kind of journalists Rwanda needs today are those who stand up for the truth and the betterment of the future of the country, he said.
“Strive for the dignity of Rwandans and stand up against the genocide deniers,” he added. “You must play role in building a nation, it is important for Rwanda and your families, leave a good legacy.”
Kaboneka’s call is also a response to ongoing theories being spread by negationists, particular those who question the if indeed there was a genocide agains the Tutsi.
Minister Kaboneka had joined journalists and families of the victims to pay tribute to those killed because of their duty and because they were Tutsis.
“This evening is for you the journalist to ask yourselves whether you are ready and have the strategies to face those who have the bad intention,’’ he said. “
“Based on our own history, remembering should not be a tradition whereby we come and spend hours here mentioning names of journalists that were.”
“What is important is conscience. When you have conscience and willingness, you also get the power,” the Minister added.
These are not good days for the media in Rwanda. These are days that evoke bad memories of a media that fueled the genocide against the Tutsi.
Senator Laurent Nkusi, who attended the event, told journalists that indeed the media was a weapon for spreading hatred and the genocide ideology.
“Many media houses like Kangura and Echo de Mille Collines supported president Juvenal Habyarimana and are the ones that spread hate…in general, they incited Rwandans preach a war against the domination and bloodshed of the Tutsi regime,” Nkusi said.
As a remedy, Nkusi advised journalists to “be technically competent and morally conscious”.
“What can journalists do? There are many tendencies nowadays. There are those who look at journalism as the government’s arm, but the tendency now is that reporting goes with social responsibility. Journalists are also regulated by their laws which are truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance,” he said.
However, Nkusi noted that it is often hard to abide by those laws when there are people who want to manipulate their conscience.
He urged journalists to become more accountable and use their career to build and strive for development.