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Manipulating the Present to Recall the Past and Foretell the Future: Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines Broadcasts in Pre-Genocide Rwanda


This thesis examined Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) broadcasts that aired in Rwanda between October 1993 and April 1994, prior to the genocide that began on April 6, 1994. The goal was to determine how the RTLM, which was created by members of then President Habyarimana's inner circle, manipulated its reporting of events to create an extremist anti-Tutsi message.

The methodology of this thesis involved analysis of a collection of pre-genocide broadcasts and historical contextualization of these broadcasts using a number of relevant sources.

Two major themes predominated: the outside threat of the Rwanda Patriotic Front's purported desire to rule absolutely, a threat ultimately conflated with the overall notion of a Tutsi plot; and the presence of traitors within the country, portrayed as consisting of moderate Hutu politicians within the transitional government. The RTLM manipulated ongoing events to link to a past that supported an extremist message.

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