Rwanda has banned The BBC Great Lakes indefinitely following a 7 months suspension over a controversial TV documentary.
Last Friday RURA, a government utility regulatory agency announced the BBC Great Lakes ban, but said other programmes namely French, English and Kiswahili will be allowed the transmission.
BBC Great Lakes airs in Kinyarwanda and Kirundi.
The documentary titled ‘Rwanda: The Untold Story’ investigates the role of Rwanda’s president H.E Paul Kagame in the events surrounding the genocide against Tutsis and questions the veracity of the official account of the genocide.
Rwandan government and some scholars have vehemently criticized BBC over the film; saying it is a genocide denial.
BBC rejected the accusations and denies any part of the documentary denies the genocide. Its investigations found that the film meets its production standards.
Rwanda through its utility regulation agency suspended the BBC and set up a committee to examine the BBC story content .The committee recommended the ban of BBC Great Lakes, the review of all agreements between Rwanda and the International broadcaster.
Speaking at the opening functions of The Genocide Commemoration Week in last April, Kagame said some people have made a film that presents Genocide victims as perpetrators. He did n’t cite The BBC story though.
Following the documentary airing, there has been a series of demonstrations in Rwanda to denounce the film. However Rwanda Media Commission, a media self-regulation body criticized the decision to suspend BBC Great Lakes.
Reacting to the BBC Great Lakes’ suspension ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’, an international media watchdog qualified the suspension as ‘illegal and illogical’.
The BBC programme,’My World’ that aired the controversial documentary is not viewed in the great lakes country.
BBC Great Lakes a service was launched in the aftermath of The 1994 Genocide to link families that were displaced in the region. Some of its Programs were arguably the most popular Radio programmes in Rwanda.