Essay about The Role of the Media in Rwanda's Violence

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Many situations and acts that are unacceptable need a stressor. Stressors are situations and/or events that lead to a catastrophic outcome, such as the Rwanda genocide. The tension between both the Hutu and Tutsi already existed; it only needed something to reach its breaking point – a stressor. On April 6, 1994, the plane that occupied Juvenal Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamina, President of Burundi crashed due to unexplained circumstances. Over the next three months in Rwanda after the crash carrying both Presidents, mass killings began to occur. The kill count escaladed dramatically leaving one million Rwandans dead and two million seeking refugee status among its neighbors: Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi (Kellow and …show more content…
In the beginning Radio Libre de Mille Collines (RTLM) was not the main source of media coverage, Radio Rwanda was considered the “official” government station. Thanks to President Habyarimana, Radio Rwanda had been able to broadcast, using the palace – directly across the street from the station – as a direct line in case the power failed. RTLM managed to gain access to this direct line that gradually faded out Radio Rwanda’s signals to a minimal broadcasting network. Through this Radio Rwanda had minimal influence and responsibility over the inflammatory messages RTLM broadcasted making them the main voice of ethnic hatred (Kellow and Steeves 1998, 118). The main source for inflammatory comments and snide remarks situated from RTLM. The stations continuous references and language such as vigilant, fight or kill, defend, and/or exterminate only aided in fanning the flames during the times of low genocide when the kill count dropped in numbers. The constant reference to inyenzi (or cockroach – a term used to describe Tutsi rebels and Tutsi civilians) directed its comments to a particular group, the Tutsi (Straus 2007, 623).

Radio can only be deemed effective if there is an audience to broadcast towards. If there is no audience radio broadcasting becomes pointless and ineffective. Its effectiveness is achieved through their popularity and through viewers acceptance of what is being presented.

RTLM immediately attracted a large audience, especially

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