University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Media Studies

Supervisor

Amanda Grzyb

Abstract

Previous scholarly studies of the relationship between the media and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda focus on the international newspaper coverage of the genocide, the use of print and radio hate propaganda by genocide perpetrators, and the international community’s refusal to jam RTLM’s hate radio broadcasts. Working at the intersection of genocide studies and media studies, this thesis contributes to the existing scholarly discourse by analyzing the daily content of the genocide on ABC, CBS, and NBC television news broadcasts between April 6, 1994 and July 18, 1994. I conclude that the American networks often used stereotypes that erroneously suggested the genocide was African ‘tribal warfare’; misunderstood and misreported key information; focused on sensational entertainment stories; and contributed to a failed international response. My findings contribute to a growing discourse of genocide prevention and enable scholars, journalists, and the public to learn from the failed television news coverage.