French State broadcaster France Inter – a sister channel to RFI” has given cosmetic feedback and apology to a French based Rwandan lawyer who filed a complaint against their emission where the presenters denied the Genocide against Tutsi early this week.
The apology made by Radio France Inter boss has infuriated Rwandans from all walks of life, who believe the Radio has a Genocide negation agenda.
In a letter dated March 19th, Richard Gisagara, a lawyer and advisor of the Rwandan community in France – Communauté Rwandaise de France (CRF) raised a complaint against Natacha Polony a France Inter columnist and the host journalist Ali Baddou.
In a negationism manner, Natacha gave credit to the 1994 Genocide perpetrators and called the Tutsi ‘bastards’.
Attorney Gisagara complained to the leadership of France Inter and asked them to take measures against both the host journalist and the columnist.
In response to the letter dated March 23rd, France Inter rather tries to shield the columnist.
“Please note that after listening to the broadcast program in question, I was also deeply disturbed by the words used by Natacha Polony of France Inter whom I know very well as a professional journalist of highest integrity,” wrote Laurence Bloch, France Inter’s director.
In the letter she continues to say that she is sympathetic to the Rwandan community, and “share the emotion that these remarks may have provoked among the relatives of the victims, as well as in the Rwandan Community of France.”
“It is obviously unthinkable that such denialist remarks could be broadcast by France Inter and be accepted as fact.”
Bloch enveloped her message with cosmetic words, but in the middle, she shared a message that shows her real position and could mean that she is not far different from journalists in question.
“You will also have noticed that Natacha Polony, on two occasions during the program, stated that she was not in any way denying the reality of the Genocide of Tutsis,” she said.
She also opened another chapter of trying to mislead, bringing an excuse that after all, “the statement as quoted in your letter is totally confusing and does not correctly translate what she meant to convey to the audience.”
The Radio Is Not Repentant
According to lawyer Gisagara, the feedback from France Inter, “Is a good answer but we were not satisfied.”
“They did not apologize at all.”
Gisagara who analyzed every word in the letter said, “she presented her regrets, but never made any apology.”
But for Gisagara, the main gap in the letter, is that “We were not just looking forward to an apology, we also wanted to find out what measures they have taken against the journalist. She did not say any.”
Alice Kabagire Cyusa, another Rwandan from the diaspora suggest that, France Inter took the complaint very seriously, but the leader “stopped short from apologizing and that’s unacceptable.”
According to Naphtal Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary of Ibuka, an umbrella of the Genocide survivors’ association, this response as just a confirmation of France Inter’s intent to openly deny the genocide.
“In the first place, the radio director should have repremanded the columnist and collaborated with the justice to bring her to book because genocide is a crime against humanity,” he said.
“France Inter is well aware that the genocide was planned, and executed by the then government, but the director’s position could not be any different if she has the same ideology with the journalist.”
Ahishakiye finds France Inter feedback as intended to mislead and to shield the journalist.
Tom Ndahiro, a genocide researcher, said on tweeter; “This note by LaurenceBloch of franceinter is not an apology but an attempt by their lawyers and PR guys at defending their journalist @NPolony claiming she was misunderstood. She says this because its #Rwanda. Can she say the #Holocaust was a case of bastards facing other bastards?”
Previously, Ndahiro had also tweeted, “Well known #French journalist @NPolony isn’t only a denier, but terrible racist. On @franceinter she says genocide against Tutsi in # #Rwanda wasn’t bad people vs good people but “bastards facing other bastards”. Can she dare say the same with regard to the Nazis &the #Holocaust?”
Meanwhile, Bloch said the same columnist and her host in the “Le duel Natacha Polony , Raphael Glucksman” show will again be live on Sunday, to “re-visit this tragic moment in Rwandan history and will, I hope, remove any suspicion of negationism by France Inter or any of our columnists.”
Rwandans said filing a complaint in this case was a wonderful job for the Rwandan community in France but, “they should continue till an apology is obtained! If no apology then they should sue that Radio.”
Gisagara said, the conduct of the next broadcast “will determine whether we have to sue France Inter or not.”