Rwanda: The Limits to Free Speech
Anjan Sundaram, Journalist; Author, Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship
Dr Lars Waldorf, Senior Lecturer & LLM Convenor Centre for Applied Human Rights Research Centre for the Social Sciences, University of York
Chair: Afua Hirsch, Social Affairs Editor, Sky News
With over 20 years of political stability, Rwanda has often been hailed as a development success story having achieved rapid economic growth and international recognition for its progress in reducing child mortality, improving food security and gender equality. Yet international attitudes towards Rwanda have begun to shift in recent years.
The run up to the country’s last presidential elections in 2010 were marred by imprisonments and attacks on opposition and independent media, causing a powerful climate of fear among journalists which, Freedom House reports, has led to wide-spread self-censorship.
Following President Paul Kagame’s recent announcement that he will run for a third term, which could see him in power until 2034, the panel will discuss the space for free and open political expression in Rwanda. They will consider the role of the state in a post-genocide context and discuss the challenges and implications surrounding the stifling of opposition and independent media, looking at what this will mean for the country’s future.