Rwanda suspends BBC radio service

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Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The BBC has had one of its African radio services suspended by the Rwandan government in protest at a documentary about the country’s 1990s genocide, the broadcaster said.

The corporation defended Rwanda’s Untold Story, broadcast on BBC2 on October 1, and said the decision to take the Great Lakes Service off the air was “unwarranted and disproportionate”.

The programme investigated allegations that current Rwandan president Paul Kagame was involved in shooting down a plane carrying one of his predecessors – an event which sparked the 1994 conflict that cost thousands of lives.

Earlier this week the Rwandan parliament demanded an apology from the corporation and passed a resolution to ban the BBC.

The country’s minister of foreign affairs Louise Mushikiwabo described the documentary as an “attack on Rwanda and its people” and said her government was contemplating taking action against the broadcaster.

A BBC spokesman said: “We are surprised and disappointed that the Rwandan government has suspended the BBC Great Lakes Service on FM.

“We consider this action unwarranted and disproportionate.

“We believe Rwanda’s Untold Story, which was produced by a BBC current affairs team in London and broadcast on a domestic channel in the UK, made a valuable contribution to the understanding of the tragic history of the country and the region.

“The BBC strongly refutes the suggestion that any part of the programme constitutes a ‘denial of the genocide against the Tutsi’.”

He added that the documentary made repeated references to the mass killings of Tutsis by Hutus in 1994 and several interviews which discussed it.

It also said the Rwandan government had turned down several requests to appear in the programme.

Published: Friday 24th October 2014 by The News Editor

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