Predator

Paul KAGAME

10 October 1957



Named vice president of Rwanda in 1994, following the genocide. Kagame rose to the top position in 2002. The constitution, amended in2015, allows him to remain in power until 2034. 


Predator from the time he held senior positions



 Rwanda, 156th/180 countries in 2021 World Press Freedom Index



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Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

Sincerely,
[Your name]
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Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
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Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
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Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at DefendPressFreedom.com

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at DefendPressFreedom.com

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at DefendPressFreedom.com

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    PREDATORY METHOD: Instilling fear




    Since taking office, Kagame hides behind the memory of the 1994 genocide in order to justify tight control of journalists and media organisations in Rwanda.  In that period, media, such as Radio Mille Collines, fanned racial hatred. About three decades later, censorship continues, and self-censorship has become the rule, for those who want to avoid becoming government targets. The crime of “insulting the person of the president of the Republic” has been used mainly to muzzle the press. In addition, Kagame is suspected in connection with the death of Jean-Léonard Rugambage, deputy editor of the weekly Umugugizi, who was murdered while investigating security services’ attempt to murder a general who was exiled in South Africa. To track journalists, the regime relies on intelligence agencies, and informers who are assigned to infiltrate the population. Regime trolls follow, listen to and systematically harass reporters online. As a result, journalists’ sources remain silent, fearing reprisals against them if they speak up. As of this writing, not a sole national private press organization exists in the country.



    FAVOURITE TARGETS: Independent journalists



    All journalists who openly criticise the president or the regime, who question the development track record, or who bring up killings of Hutus by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (the ruling party) become government targets. Since 1996, RSF has recorded the killings or disappearances of eight journalists, and the convictions of a dozen journalists sentenced to lengthy prison terms. In addition, about 30 journalists were forced into exile.


    OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Feigned indifference


    “When I hear some of your journalist colleagues express forceful judgements and advice with an authority inversely proportional to their expertise, I have to wonder.” (Interview in Jeune Afrique, 2018).

    “Freedom of expression? Freedom of the press? Some of them insult people daily. They insult me every day. I could care less.  In their cartoons, they call me Hitler – I ignore them, this doesn’t get to me at all. I hold them all in contempt. (Speech at commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the genocide, 8 April 2010).