Herb Hirsch


The fourth contribution to volume 6, issue 2, ‘‘Did Newsnight Miss the Story? A Survey of How the BBC’s ‘Flagship Political Current Affairs Program’ Reported Genocide and War in Rwanda between April and July 1994,’’ is one of the few exami- nations of the role played by the media in exposing or ignoring an ongoing genocide. In this article, Georgina Holmes, a scholar of international relations theory and the media, notes that in 1994 the BBC program Newsnight was one of the few ‘‘within which representatives of the British government, opposition parties, the United Nations, and international non-governmental organizations could comment on British foreign policy.’’ Holmes analyzes Newsnight reporting between 6 April 1994 and 30 September 1994, with a particular focus on reporting until 31 July 1994, and con- cludes that ‘‘despite a stack of media evidence that genocide was taking place, no representatives of the British government or opposition parties were interviewed on the role of the UK as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and signatory of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.’’ Instead, she notes, the discussion focused on the shortcomings of the UN bureau- cracy and were characterized by a refusal to use the word ‘‘genocide.’’ She concludes that Newsnight missed the story and ‘‘failed to hold British politicians to account.’’