Representation or misrepresentation? The New York Times's framing of the 1994 Rwanda genocide

Representation or misrepresentation? The New York Times's framing of the 1994 Rwanda genocide

Author: 
Chari, Tendai
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
African Identities
Source: 
African Identities, Volume 8, Issue 4, November 2010, Pages 333 - 349
Abstract: 

The western press is still considered the most authentic and authoritative source of information about world events. Their technological wherewithal guarantees them unlimited access to every nook and cranny of the globe and they are able to be first with the news much of the time. In spite of these advantages the western press's coverage of African issues has been mired in controversy due to a number of alleged shortcomings. The Rwanda genocide of 1994 is one such issue where the western press has been found wanting. The catalogue of accusations ranges from their lack of enthusiasm to report on the genocide and failure to expose the underlying cause of the conflict, to distortions and ignorance of the socio-economic context of the genocide. Underpinned by the framing theory and employing textual analysis, this paper analyses the representation of the 1994 Rwanda genocide in order to understand the ideological imperatives underpinning such framing and the possible impact of such representation on public opinion and perceptions. In particular the paper seeks to identify aspects of the genocide which the newspaper accentuated and those that it sought to downplay. The paper argues that the New York Times's framing of the 1994 Rwanda genocide is coloured by enduring nineteenth-century Eurocentric ideologies whereby Rwandan genocide is represented as yet another African tragedy signifying darkness and hopelessness.

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CITATION: Chari, Tendai. Representation or misrepresentation? The New York Times's framing of the 1994 Rwanda genocide . : Taylor & Francis Group , . African Identities, Volume 8, Issue 4, November 2010, Pages 333 - 349 - Available at: http://library.au.int/representation-or-misrepresentation-new-york-timess-framing-1994-rwanda-genocide-3