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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - IDRC Archive
Title Rwandan private print media on the eve of the genocide
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
URL http://reseau.crdi.ca/en/ev-108186-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
Abstract
In April 1994, I was director of the Office Rwandais d'Information (ORINFOR), a government agency that managed public media: Radio Rwanda, Rwandan Television, Agence Rwandaise de Presse and the government-published newspapers, Imvaho and La Relève. I had been appointed by the coalition government led by Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana on 31 July 1993 and, in this role, I collected a significant volume of information about the media.

Early in the morning of 7 April, when I realized that the Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR) had taken over Radio Rwanda and that my assassination and that of my family was likely and potentially imminent, my family and I left our residence to hide at a friend's house; we took only the clothes on our backs. A group of presidential guards sent to kill us arrived about 30 minutes later.

On 9 April, I called the United States embassy, in Kigali, to evacuate my daughter, who was born in Austin, Texas, when I was in graduate school there. We rushed into the car the embassy sent and drove to Bujumbura, Burundi, where we boarded a plane to Nairobi, Kenya, accompanied by US marines.

My exhaustive documentation on the Rwandan media was totally lost. For this paper, I have to rely on my memory and the messages I exchanged with some Rwandan newspaper editors after the genocide. (For their security, I cannot disclose their names.) [Editor's note: The author also referred to the material listed in the bibliography at the end of this paper to refresh his memory.]

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