The radio is viewed as the most impactful medium of communication during the genocide due to its extensive outreach in the Rwandan population. The role of radio starts from the partisan ownership and lack of objectivity that comes with it. The main radio station cited, RTLM, was owned by Hutu hardliners in the ruling government, same people who led the genocide (Strauss). During the genocide, the radio’s messages were full of anti-rebel sentiments and inflammatory statements (Strauss). The radio station announced people’s names and places which were later attacked in the violence, tying the broadcasts directly to the violence. The message aired on the radio dehumanized Tutsis and made the violence appear as the only means of dealing with the perceived problem (Strauss). Strauss holds that radio contributed to shaping the minds of the perpetrators of violence and in normalizing the violence, but it did not trigger the onset of the violence.
The article by the BBC takes journalistic report angle, focusing on reporting what happened, which from a general outlook would point the blame to the radio for contributing to the violence. It states that the radio called the people to violence and gave directions on where to find the hidden (Smith). The movie, on the other hand, presents a more dramatic view of the role of radio, by showing how the perpetrators of the violence relied on the radio broadcasts to get information on how to act. The report by the BBC portrays the media in this manner since it focuses on the evidence adduced in court while the movie could be structured that way for dramatic effect. Strauss differs from this opinion by taking a more analytical and evidence-based approach which brings out an in-depth look. None the less, the radio did play a significant role in the Rwandan genocide regardless of the magnitude or angle of its role.
The Kenya post-election violence is also said to have been influenced by messages on the radio that spread messages that pitted one community against another (Maliti). This case is evidence of the sensitive role that the media plays in influencing the public.
Maliti, Tom. "Kenya Cases | International Justice Monitor". Ijmonitor.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Smith, Russell. "The Impact Of Hate Media In Rwanda". News.bbc.co.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.