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To: BBC Trust, The Editorial Standards Committee (ESC)

BBC Trust should apologise to the Rwandan people

We petition BBC Trust to apologise to the Rwandan people, the genocide survivors, the Rwandan government, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame for the lies, generalisations, false accusations, innuendoes and wild allegations made against them in the BBC documentary titled; “Rwanda: the untold story.”

Why is this important?

There is no “untold story” in the documentary and BBC revises material to distort, downplay, and misrepresent almost every historical fact that has been published about the genocide against the Tutsi people of Rwanda.

In about 100 days; from about April 7, 1994 to mid-July, about 800,000 to 1000,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were slaughtered by mass murderers called the interahamwe.

But the BBC documentary claims instead that the interahamwe killed only 200,000 Tutsi. It goes further to claim that the RPF, which has been universally praised for liberating Rwanda from the killers, instead killed 800,000 Hutus.

This is a grave allegation. Unfortunately, BBC makes it basing only on bleeps on an American academic’s computer. The BBC documentary contains many other examples of such unethical and sub-standard journalism, including downplaying the rulings and findings of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR).

The BBC claims go against all the research that has gone into the study of the Rwanda genocide in over 20 years of scholarly research by notable academics, journalists who covered the genocide, the UN and other international organisations.

Instead, BBC chose to rely entirely on people who are know enemies of Rwanda’s ruling party, the RPF and its president, Kagame for commentary in the documentary. These include Professor Filip Reyntjens who was a senior advisor to the late President Juvenal Habyarimana and has not been in the country for over 20 years.

It also relies on testimonies of dissidents of who run away from Rwanda because of charges of treason and corruption – Kayumba Nyamwasa and Theogene Rudasingwa – but does not reveal these facts about them in order to place their allegations into context.

The BBC, in choosing to air this program, failed to uphold basic journalistic values of truth and accuracy, fairness and balance.

We are, therefore, petitioning BBC on the following key points:

1. Every person interviewed is a renowned self-declared hater of President Paul Kagame personally and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) organisationally. Yet no attempt is made to show their backgrounds and ambitions. This over-rides the objectiveness of their commentary on the genocide.

2. The two American academics, Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, to whom BBC entrusts the exposure of the “true story” of the genocide, are known genocide-deniers and revisionists. The BBC makes no effort to demonstrate that the claims they make have no merit.

3. The ethics of the program makers are questionable as they do not have a single statement from even one current Rwanda government official.

4. All this puts into question how BBC handles evidence and ascertains the so-called facts in this documentary.

By choosing to append your signature and name to this petition, you are making the BBC uphold journalistic values of truth, accuracy, fairness, and balance. You are also paying homage to the memory of an estimated 1000,000 Rwandans who were killed just because they were Tutsi.