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Inquiry Committee on the BBC Documentary “Rwanda’s Untold Story"

Background

On 3 November 2014, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), the national body mandated with regulating the media established an independent Committee of Inquiry to look into the allegations brought to its attention arising from the BBC’s documentary titled “Rwanda’s Untold Story” aired on 1 October 2014 on BBC2 in the United Kingdom. The BBC was accused of genocide denial, promoting divisionism and inciting hatred.

The committee was given the task to examine the complaints made by Rwandans against the BBC’s conduct in the production of the documentary and transgressions, some spanning a number of years, in its Kinyarwanda programs broadcast on the FM frequency in Rwanda.

The committee handed down its report on 28 February 2015.

Recommendations

  • That the agreement between the Government of Rwanda and the BBC be terminated.
  • That respective organs of the Rwandan Government initiate criminal and civil processes to deal with identified offenses and compel the BBC to disclose the information in reference to the recommendation number 1. The former process is based on serious evidence of criminal offenses, as established by this inquiry while the latter is premised on the Committee’s inability to access key information that is in the hands of the BBC, which, we have reason to believe, can shed more light on a number of pertinent issues surrounding the origin, purpose, and source of funding for the documentary.
  • That the Government of Rwanda should establish an effective and cohesive national communication strategy, as a permanent instrument for tracking, identifying, and addressing manifestations of genocide denial in all its forms and wherever it may be found, as well as for spreading values of national interest.
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