The role of the media in escalating conflict (a case of the Rwandan genocide)

Author: Were, Emily Nasirumbi

Awarding University: University of Nairobi, Kenya

Level : MA

Year: 2012

Holding Libraries: University of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library ;

Subject Terms: Mass media/Media coverage/Conflicts/Journalists/Rwanda/Genocide/ ;

Pages: 69

Advisors: Patrick Maluki


This study examines the role of media in escalating conflict, a case study of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The genocide was among the most appalling catastrophes of the 20th century, and media played a significant part both internally and internationally. Globally, ftationally and locally, the mass media plays a crucial role in public policy, agenda setting, national, and international conflicts. Conflicts do not occur spontaneously but tend to have a history as all conflict have a history. The purpose of the study was to determine what role both the Rwandan and the international media played in the Rwandan Genocide. The study examined and analyzed the factors that forced the media to propelling violence in conflict situations in third world countries instead of promoting democracy and peace. The media can play different roles in terms of escalating, moderating, or balancing a conflict. The case of the Rwandan Genocide is a good example of how media can be directly involved in escalating of conflict. The mass media has been of great importance in the war leading to, the genocides in Rwanda as well as in many other internal conflicts. The objectives of the study were to determine the factors that made the media vulnerable to political manipulation, examine the role played by the media both local and international in escalating violence in the Rwandan genocide, and to examine the challenges faced by the media operations under the political umbrella in Rwanda. The study will be useful to the management of conflicts globally, to academicians, to the government and other researchers. The research was a desk review that analyzed data from both internal sources and external sources. Internal sources included information sourced from the media. External data sources included data originating from outside the media urgencies such as government sources, commercial sources, inter and intra industry sources like trade publications, journals and other sources like non-governmental organizations, institutes of economic survey and also academic institutions.