French TV to be sued over Genocide sketch



by Eugène KWIBUKA


Some of the protestors outside Canal+ Group headquarters in Paris last week. The New Times/ Courtesy.

Anti-Genocide activists in France are considering suing French TV Canal+ over its broadcast of a sketch seen as ridiculing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The revelation comes days after protesters from the Rwandan community in France and their friends took to the streets in the capital Paris on Saturday to deliver a message of their disapproval with Canal+.

The march was the latest in a series of activities to protest against the television’s broadcast.

It was first held at the office of the “Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel” (CSA), which regulates television content in the country, before the protesters marched to the office of Canal+ Group.

As part of its flagship comedy show codenamed DBQT, the television allowed a December 20, 2013 show that dug into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in a manner that viewers who are conversant with the killings have called “unacceptable and intolerable.”

The Saturday protests were organised after activists against Canal+ comedy on the Genocide were not satisfied with the group’s response that it did not mean to undermine the memory of the victims.

More than 22,000 people have signed an online citizen petition that seeks an apology from Canal+, a private French pay TV channel, for the comedy sketch.

Canal+ executives said their comedians had wanted to criticise how little some people in France and the Western world know or care about what happens in other countries, using the Genocide in Rwanda as an example.

But the sketch irked many around the world, especially Rwandans, both at home and in the Diaspora.

Legal action due

Richard Gisagara, a French-Rwandan lawyer living in France, who is involved with the protests, says the activists still believe the comedy was “abject” and will now sue the television to seek both retraction and damages.

“A case will probably be brought up against Canal+ by the end of the month. This will be done in the name of a person seeking justice for the victims and survivors and not in the name of an association,” he said.

The lawyer said the civil case will come after the announcement of the position of the CSA on the comedy sketch, which is supposed to be communicated soon, according to the association of Rwandans in France.

“Someone will be proving in court that their dignity or that of their parents or children was undermined by the comedy sketch,” he said.

The manager of CSA, Marc El Nouchi, told a delegation representing the protestors on Saturday that his organisation will make a statement about what it makes of the comedy sketch before the end of the month.

Gisagara said the body’s response will not stop his clients from suing Canal+ unless the latter makes a public apology and retract what activists see as undermining the memory of the Genocide.

The online petition that demands Canal + to officially apologise insists that “genocide is not a laughing matter.”

The activists say “disregard for the victims of a Genocide that claimed over a million lives in 100 days in 1994 will not be tolerated.”



Source: The New Times


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