The International Reporting Project (IRP) and 12 senior U.S. editors and producers traveled to Rwanda from November 6-19, 2011, to learn more about this important country.
The Gatekeepers concluded their trip by meeting with Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, to talk about the tiny but complex Central African country. In this excerpt, the president discusses his country's vague laws prohibiting "divisionism" and "genocide ideology."
Kagame explains that outside reports from groups such as Transparency International and World Bank about Rwanda's levels of transparency and democratic governance often affect the reader’s perception of freedom in Rwanda.
In one report, Kagame notes, the author begins by saying, "Although undemocratic, 84% of Rwandans talk about how they are free," ultimately concluding that the country is democratic and free. “They fail to understand,” Kagame says, “if the finding is this, why would you start by prejudicing the reader?”
“Where do you get it from?” the leader asks. “How do you want me to address that? I'm addressing the issues with Rwandans and with Rwanda. Now, you either believe what you see, or you have something else you want to believe on your own, I don't know where you get it from, and I cannot be responsible for that. How do I convince? This is where the problem is.”
Audio excerpt by Rebecca Davis and Melody Wilson. Photo by John Schidlovsky.