By Staff Reporter
Rwandan lawmakers demand BBC ban over ‘genocide denial’Rwanda
Rwandan lawmakers have called for the BBC to be banned from broadcasting in the country after it aired a controversial documentary on the country’s leadership and the genocide of 1994, reports said Thursday.
“Rwanda’s Untold Story”, broadcast this month, highlighted growing criticism of President Paul Kagame and revived allegations that his Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) — then a rebel group, now the ruling political party — was behind the shooting down of a plane that triggered the genocide.
Furious lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday called for the FM licence the BBC uses to broadcast across the country — in English, Kinyarwanda and French — to be pulled.
“We must stand and fight against these deniers. Among the decisions we should consider is taking a legal action against the deniers, be it internally or externally,” Senate President Bernard Makuza said, according to the New Times newspaper.
“We should as well consider revising the agreements Rwanda has with BBC. This is an open struggle that cannot be taken lightly and should be taken on by everyone collectively.”
‘DENIAL OF GENOCIDE’
The BBC has denied the programme constituted a “denial of the genocide”.
MP Julienne Uwacu said Rwandans should “switch it off completely”, the New Times added.
Kagame told parliament earlier this month that the BBC had chosen to “tarnish Rwandans, dehumanise them” and accused it of “genocide denial”.
An estimated 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, were killed in just 100 days — a rate of killing that was far faster than the Holocaust in World War II.
Prominent international academics, experts and diplomats have accused the BBC of being “recklessly irresponsible” by allegedly promoting a revisionist account of the genocide in the documentary.
The BBC, one of the country’s most popular broadcasters, said the programme in “no way” sought “to downplay or conceal the horrifying events of 1994” and subsequent events.
Students also marched through Kigali on Wednesday demonstrating against the BBC.
In 2009, Rwanda temporarily banned the BBC’s Kin