We are told that the media must always strive to be objective; that they have to ensure that both sides to the story are told in equal measure. And that’s the essence of the media, and the main reason why journalists tend to command enviable public trust.
We also know that the media do not operate in a vacuum, but within a particular setting composed of a mixture of realities.
Indeed it is important for the media to work in a way that reflects the realities within which they operate, or those that concern their reports, as much as ensuring that they are seen to be taking a neutral stand. The media draw their legitimacy and relevancy from their neutrality and objectivity.
Nonetheless, there is one thing that the media tend to ignore – and that is the universal principle of moral/professional consciousness. The media need to remain sober and accurate in all situations, and, therefore, it is never enough to say ‘look I just quoted so and so’. For instance, journalists have an inherent responsibility to protect society from extremist ideologies simply because the media work for society. When the media allow themselves to serve as conduits for, for instance, genocide ideology, they betray the enviable and exclusive public trust they enjoy, and they should be held responsible for the consequences. This is a universal principle whose application should not depend on who has suffered the consequences of irresponsible journalism, or which country or group of people have been victimized in the process.
However, we see that the media quite often do not observe the sensitivities associated with their work in communities in other countries. This is most evident when the western media report about non-western societies; this part of the media world tends to make judgments that are based on the realities in their own countries and their own cultures, even though they know very well that this is a world of unlimited cultural diversities. The western media organizations continue to look at the world through their own lenses, and have no regrets for imposing hypothesis on societies in far-flung parts of the world.
Yet I refuse to entirely blame their ignorance. Take the example of Rwanda: the western media often hide behind ‘neutrality and ‘objective reporting’, to give platform to well known genocide deniers and revisionists, and anyone who sympathises with the regime that attempted to annihilate the Tutsi in 1994, yet they will not dare give airtime and space to pro-Nazi ideologues. While reporting on North America and Europe, they are keen to use their moral and professional conscience not to hurt the feelings of their western audiences, but practice the worst form of irresponsible journalism when it concerns to Africa and other non-western territories.
To the majority of them, it is big news when anybody wakes up any day, and denounces an African leader, or comes up with wild hypothesis that seek to rewrite history. They happily jump on the ‘story’, and openly promote that version with little regard to whatever sensitivities it may carry. They get so obsessed with such versions, so much they brush aside whatever facts that point to the contrary. Other opportunists and self-seekers will also look to exploit the same allegations, in pursuit of selfish interests.
Unfortunately, that is the world we live in.
Nonetheless, the African media, which not only understand the contexts and realities of Africa, but also care about the continent more than their western counterparts, will need to rise up to the challenge and, like this column has stated before, boldly tell the African story.
The truth is that much of the literature about Africa has been written by biased western authors. As such, most of the research work about the continent continues to miss the real African story. To reverse this trend, African media and authors will need to take charge of content generation about their own continent. They understand the varied African sensitivities, and are certainly best placed to unveil the continent in its true image.
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201111070457.htmltel �- ra� �e, specifically instructed Rusesabagina not to charge money for any meals when the food had been received free of charge, and not to exert any pressure on refugees who did not have the means to pay for their accommodation. (pg30). This instruction was written on May 10, 1994, but a week later, on 21 May 1994, the refugees had again to appeal to Philippe Gaillard of the International Committee of the Red Cross, asking him to intervene because the hotel manager was threatening to evict those who were unable to pay for their rooms outright.
“We are writing to your benevolence to inform you that the manager interprets the content of this memo (from Michel Houtart) in the sense of demanding cash payment from the refugees who are currently occupying all the rooms and the available halls serving as dormitories…”
Rusesabagina is so afraid of losing any remaining credence to continue manipulating uninformed opinion for personal greed and political ambitions that motivate him to go any length and use any means to counter what has been written or said about the real Rusesabagina.
Reliable sources close to the “1930” prison revealed to us that not long ago, Paul Rusesabagina tried to bribe Valerie Bemeriki, the repentant RTLM journalist, so that she retrieves her all-revealing testimony on his real role in the 1994 Genocide. Indeed, she testified that Rusesabagina was so close with the Genocide masterminds and executioners, among whom were Gens. Bizimungu and Bagosora, to the point of being their store keeper while at Hotel des Diplomates. She confirmed that he used to keep their belongings in the hotel’s safes and moved freely with them around town.
This is a story that is very far from what Rusesabagina has been saying all along that while he dined and wined with these notorious genocidaires, it was just for the general interest of the refugees in the hotel that he wanted to protect. She also indicated as previously revealed in our articles that he used to inform the notorious RTLM on the whereabouts of some Tutsis, leading to subsequent death of some. He is also known according to various sources, including Valerie Bemeriki, to have been a valuable source of intelligence for the government security agencies during the Genocide.
With this latest book, which we will explore in our next article, it is hoped that the bitter truth about this flag bearer of the 1994 Genocide, “negationists” and revisionists will be exposed in the spirit of fighting impunity and contributing to the Never Again principle.