4th April 2014
By Stefanie Chernow

Media Dialogue on Hate Speech in Africa

A two-day “Media dialogue on hate speech in Africa” was held on the 17th and 18th of April 2014, bringing together local and regional media leaders and journalists, researchers, and others from the world of media to help prepare professional strategies that can turn the page of hate speech on the African continent. This meeting focused on the capacity of media and journalism to be a positive force for tolerance, human rights and democracy and we also collectively remember the lives of all those who lost their lives, especially the journalists, during the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda.

The dialogue aimed to build a unified professional voice to raise awareness in Africa of the dangers of hate speech and, at the same time, to promote self-regulation and good governance in defense of the highest standards of journalism and management of media. Since the dialogue took place on the 20th commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi, this provided a favorable platform for the Rwandan and regional media practitioners to remember, renew and unite in their common fight against the genocide ideology. It also highlighted other forms of hate speech in media, including the use of hate speech as a tool for generating gender-based hatred and incitement to violence against people and communities who come from different cultural backgrounds, particularly in times of war and conflict in Africa.

The dialogue organised sessions to cover the following issues surrounding hate speech at the event of the 20th commemoration of Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda:

  1. The Rwandan experience in dealing with hate incitements: challenges and opportunities for the media discussed in the perspective of the historical role of the media in the Genocide against Tutsi;
  2. Ethical challenges, politics and incitement to violence: Media must not be weapons of war, but how do we build solidarity to defend ethical standards, promote a culture of tolerance in journalism and maintain professional independence?
  3. International standards and practices against hate speech: Can they help to turn the page of hate media in Africa? Can they assist journalists to cover the stories that often divide society, including the rights of minorities who may suffer discrimination because of religious and cultural differences?
  4. Gender and the Cultural Challenges: hate speech can promote discrimination and unacceptable stereotypes, often against women. It can lead to gender violence. How do media in Africa resist this tendency and strengthen the equal rights of all?
  5. Hatred Online and the Internet Media Challenge: Citizens now play an important role in gathering and disseminating information. They can strengthen media work, but there are dangers, too. How can this new open information landscape be managed?

This meeting was organized by the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) through its partnership with Media High Council and Rwanda media community represented by the Association of Rwandese Female Journalists (ARFEM), the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), and the Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ). The event was held in co-operation with and supported by Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), the global network of media professionals dedicated to strengthening the craft of Journalism and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television. Among those taking part were continental media leaders from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Burkina Faso and South Africa.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Time Session Speakers
7h30-8h30 AM Arrival and Registration of Participants
08h30-08h40AM Welcome Remarks
8h40-8h50 AM Introduction Remarks Collin Haba, President, Rwanda Journalists Association
8h50-09h00 AM Remarks Aidan White, ED, Ethical Journalism Network
09h00-09h10 AM Remarks Amadou Ba, CEO, Africa Media Initiative
9h10-10h00 AM Chief guest and official opening and Group Photo Guest of Honour
10h00- 11h20 AM Session 1:

Turning the page of hate media in Africa: Building Unity and Peace


Benita Diop, Mohamed Garba, Tom Ndahiro, Kennedy Ndahiro,

Moderator: Jenerali Ulimwengu

11h20-12h20 PM Discussion
12h20h-14h00 Lunch at the Hotel
14h00-15h20 PM Session 2:

Hatred Online and the Internet Media Challenge


Claudine Delucco, Stephen Ouma Bwire, Didier Nkulikiyeimpfura, Bitange Ndemo

Moderator: Dr. Roukaya Kassenaly

15h20-16h20PM Discussions Moderator
16h20-16h50PM Recommendations and Resolutions of Day one sessions adopted Rapporteur
16h50-17h00 PM Coffee/Refreshments Hotel

Friday, 18 April 2014

Time Session Speakers
7h30-8h30 AM Arrival and introduction of the day MC
08h30-10h00 AM Session 1:

Gender and the Cultural Challenges


Ingabire Immaculate, Rachel Nakitare, Lucy Ekadu, Cheriff Sy

Moderator: Dr. Diogène Bideri

10h00 – 10h30AM Break Hotel
10h30-12h30 AM Discussion Moderator
12h30-12h50 AM Recommendations and Resolutions of Day two session adopted Rapporteur
12h50- 13h00PM Briefing on Media Fraternity remembrance activities MC
13h00-14h00 PM Lunch Hotel
14h00-15h00 PM Participants gather for the walk to remember Buses organised by MHC
15h00-17h00 PM Walk to remember Media Fraternity
17h00-22h00 PM Night vigil in commemoration of journalists victims of Genocide against Tusti Media Fraternity