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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue IX, September 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

The Role Of Radio-Télévision Libre Des Mille Collines In The Rwandan Genocide : An Analysis From The Theoretical Perspectives Of Intergroup Threat And Aggression

Gustave Adolphe Messanga & Marios Yannick Duclair Tajeugueu
Department of Philosophy-Psychology-Sociology, University of Dschang, Cameroon

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract : This research focuses on the role of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) in the Rwandan genocide. It analyzes the radio broadcasts through the prism of theories of intergroup threat and aggression. In this perspective, this medium is conceived as a manipulative and propagandist agent which participated in the perpetration of mass killings constituting the Rwandan genocide, through the dissemination of the ideology of hatred before and during the genocide and the logistical assistance provided to those involved in the killings. Indeed, RTLM broadcasts were structured in such a way as to present Hutu as victims (intergroup threat), with the aim of justifying the use of violent actions against Tutsi (intergroup aggression). The corpus to be analyzed consists of extracts from RTLM broadcasts selected from transcripts stored at the Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and at the International Monitor Institute (IMI). These extracts were analyzed with the method of discourse analysis. They reveal that RTLM’s discourse was based on the victimization and glorification of Hutu, as well as the devaluation and demonization of Tutsi. Concretely, the radio broadcasts were structured in such a way as to incite Hutu (past and present victims of injustice) to exterminate Tutsi (the enemies, the “cockroaches” (inyenzi)) and to eradicate them from Rwandan society. They were built around two main themes : threat, which includes elements like propaganda and hatred, intergroup categorization and victimization of Hutu; and aggression which includes the revolutionary vision of Rwanda, the deshumanization of Tutsi, their designation as enemies, and the search for a just and homogeneous society without Tutsi.

Keywords : RTLM, genocide, intergroup threat, intergroup aggression, Hutu, Tutsi.


Genocide consists of the elimination of a gender, ethnicity, nationality, race, culture or group identity (Bilsky & Klagsbrun, 2018 ; Finnegan, 2020 ; O’Brien & Hoffstaedter, 2020 ; Suedfeld, 2020). It can be understood as the extermination of groups defined by their hierarchical position, political opposition to the genocidal regime or common characteristics. The Rwandan genocide, which concerns two ethnic groups (Hutu and Tutsi), is seen as the consequence of a society plagued by hatred, discrimination, prejudice and ethnic divisions (Mutabazi, 2011 ; Prunier, 1995a). As in all genocides, the authorities gave instructions to the populations