Media and Mass Atrocity: The Rwanda Genocide and Beyond

Media and Mass Atrocity: The Rwanda Genocide and Beyond

by Allan Thompson (Editor)


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When human beings are at their worst – as they most certainly were in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide – the world needs the institutions of journalism and the media to be at their best. Sadly, in Rwanda, the media fell short. Media and Mass Atrocity revisits the case of Rwanda, but also examines how the nexus between media and mass atrocity has been shaped by the dramatic rise of social media. It has been twenty-five years since Rwanda slid into the abyss. The killings happened in broad daylight, but many of us turned away. A quarter century later, there is still much to learn about the relationship between the media and genocide, an issue laid bare by the Rwanda tragedy. Media and Mass Atrocity revisits the debate over the role of traditional news media in Rwanda, where, confronted by the horrors taking place, international news media, for the most part, turned away, and at times muddled the story when they did pay attention. Hate-media outlets in Rwanda played a role in laying the groundwork for genocide, and then actively encouraged the extermination campaign. The news media not only failed to fully grasp and communicate the genocide, but mostly overlooked the war crimes committed during the genocide and in its aftermath by the Rwandan Patriotic Front. The global media landscape has been transformed since Rwanda. We are now saturated with social media, generated as often as not by non-journalists. Mobile phones are everywhere. And in many quarters, the traditional news media business model continues to recede. Against that backdrop, it is more important than ever to examine the nexus between media and mass atrocity. The book includes an extensive section on the echoes of Rwanda, which looks at the cases of Darfur, the Central African Republic, Myanmar, and South Sudan, while the impact of social media as a new actor is examined through chapters on social media use by the Islamic State and in Syria and in other contexts across the developing world. It also looks at the aftermath of the genocide: the shifting narrative of the genocide itself, the evolving debate over the role and impact of hate media in Rwanda, the challenge of digitizing archival records of the genocide, and the fostering of free and independent media in atrocity's wake. The volume also probes how journalists themselves confront mass atrocity and examines the preventive function of media through the use of advanced digital technology as well as radio programming in the Lake Chad Basin and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Media and Mass Atrocity questions what the lessons of Rwanda mean now, in an age of communications so dramatically influenced by social media and the relative decline of traditional news media.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781928096726
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 04/06/2019
Pages: 656
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Allan Thompson is senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and associate professor at Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communications.

Table of Contents

Foreword Roméo Dallaire 1

Acknowledgements v

Acronyms and Abbreviations vii

Introduction Allan Thompson 1

The Rwanda Case

1 The Media and the Rwanda Genocide Roméo Dallaire 17

2 Reporting the Genocide Mark Doyle 33

3 Listening Carefully, Looking Harder: The Role of Language in Media Coverage during the Rwandan Genocide, 1994 Catherine Bond 53

4 The Genocide Video Allan Thompson 75

5 What Is the Relationship between Hate Radio and Violence? Rethinking Rwanda's "Radio Machete" Scott Straus 97

6 The Rwandan Patriotic Front's Information and Communication Strategy Filip Reyntjens 133

After Mass Atrocity

7 Beyond Rwanda? Reporting Atrocity in a Changing Communications Environment Simon Cottle 159

8 Digitizing Genocide: The Work of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda Paul Rukesha 183

9 The Role of the Media In Fostering a Culture of Critical Engagement in the Context of Mass Atrocities: Examples from Rwanda, Colombia and South Sudan Mark Frohardt Paula Orlando 205

Echoes Of Rwanda

10 "We Have Failed as a Continent": Covering an African Atrocity for an African Audience j. Siguru Wahutu 237

11 Journalism on Darfur between Social Fields: Global and National Forces Joachim J. Savelsberg 253

12 Commitment amid Conflict: The Experience of Central African Journalists Covering Their Country's War Michelle Betz 275

13 "More Important than Jihad of the Sword": The Islamic State's Media Strategy and the Yazidi Genocide Michael Petrou 291

14 Hate Speech in Burma Alan Davis 305

15 Social Media and Conflict in South Sudan: A Lexicon of Hate Speech Terms Theo Dolan Will Ferroggiaro 319

Journalism And Mass Atrocity

16 The Love Affair with War Paul Watson 343

17 A Post-colonial Model of International News: Perspectives and Contributions of Stringers and Local Journalists in Central Africa Anjan Sundaram 365

18 Marketplace of Ideas or Little Shop of Horrors? Comparing US News Coverage of Local and Distant Suffering Lauren Kogen 393

Social Media: The New Actor

19 Social Media in Africa: An Emerging Force for Autocrats and Activists Geoffrey York 415

20 The Caliphate's Imagined Soldiers: Analyzing the Promotion of "Lone Wolf" Attacks in Rumiyah Magazine Nadia Hai 431

21 A Typology of the Islamic State's Social Media Distribution Network Yannick Veilleux-Lepage 453

22 "Fake News," Dangerous Speech and Mass Violence: Challenges for Social Media in the Developing World Stephanie MacLellan 483

23 Patriotic Trolling: A Survey of State-sponsored Trolling Worldwide Nick Monaco Carly Nyst 501

24 Social Media and the Changing Nature of Conflict and Conflict Response as Seen through the Syria Conflict Mapping Project Chris McNaboe 531


25 Advanced Digital Technology and Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention Steven Livingston Alice Musabende 557

26 Radio as a Tool in Countering Violent Extremism: Case Study of the Lake Chad Basin and Boko Haram David Smith 579

27 Radio and Rwandan Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo Bert Ingelaere 597


28 Epilogue Allan Thompson 615

Contributors 627

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