Friday, 28 October 2011

[creative-radio] Burundi - radio project on transitional justice

*La **Benevolencija*, a Dutch media NGO, is currently developing a new and
innovating media campaign that will accompany the work of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission in Burundi. The project called *"AKAHISE
KADASORONGOYE"* (the non-composed past) works through and with the media, as
a "tool", to facilitate a network of journalists that are accompanied and
trained throughout the total duration of the T&R period. These journalists
come from a wide variety of separate media with different socio/politico
backgrounds to be integrated into a team. The educational concept draws upon
the "learning by doing" principle and enables different media to deal in a
harmonized, more reflected way, on core issues that can destabilize the
society, by opening up the delicate questions around the truth and
responsibility of the different ethnic-politico conflicts that have
influenced Burundi from its date of independence (1st of July 1961) till
December 2008.

* *

*Radio programs, for whom and for what ?* Based on the political and social
context and findings made in a baseline study carried out in March
the AKAHISE KADASORONGOYE approach is centred on three main communication

*1) **The development of a shared version of history of what happened in
the past: *During the last fifty years, Burundi has never had the
opportunity to discuss within a peaceful setting its own past. The existing
conflicts occupied peoples preoccupations on a day to day basis and a more
distanced reflection, be it at academic level, be it at popular level, did
not take place. Five full years after the transitional government and ten
years after the Arusha agreements, Burundi might be ready to reflect, within
a more peaceful setting, on its past.

*2) **The putting** in place of an adequate non judicial Truth and
Reconciliation Commission program: *In Burundi, the international community
laid out the ground elements to deal with the question of impunity. However,
almost nothing has actually been done to secure truth, justice, reparations
and guarantees of non-recurrence in relation to abuses committed between the
1st of July 1962 (date of independence) and December 2008, i.e. the period
that was characterized by inter-ethnic massacres and reprisals. La
Benevolencija strongly believes that the putting in place of transitional
justice mechanisms needs to be done in an interactive way, involving
directly the views and opinions of the population. Thus the need for more
and better, interactive, media programming to create an enabling society
that can organise a transitional justice process in a constructive and
culturally appropriate way.

*3) **To enhance the possibility of trauma reduction to prevent potential
acts of violence: *Impunity in general is a constant source of frustration
that often leads to serious forms of traumatization for direct and indirect
(second and third generation) victims. The longer individuals suffer of this
lack of justice, sentiments of hate, fear and vengeance tend to dominate the
social landscape and effective ways of reconciling and bringing together old
belligerents are problematic. On the other hand, judicial systems that only
take into account victors' justice only reinforce social injustices and
prejudices that make the traumatic feelings at the root of the conflict go
unchallenged, the more difficult it becomes to build a safer, fairer and
more prosperous country. All these, well known factors of destabilization,
are opened up when a society tries to deal with its crimes from the past.
Previous transitional justice processes in neighboring countries have shown
the problematic relation of keeping societal stability and reconciliation,
within a process of "hearing the truth and punishing the perpetrators". La
Benevolencija wishes to accompany the Burundian population at large and the
victims of group violence in particular, through a well harmonized mass
media campaign, to explain these mechanisms, to avoid unnecessary sentiments
fear and the outbreak of trauma.

*Victims first*

Throughout the implementation of T&R commissions, victims should be the
primary stakeholders, but most often their voices are heard last (or not at
all) in due process. Therefore, special attention is reserved within the
Akahise Kadasorongoye debates on the representation of these victims, as
primary beneficiaries of the TJ process. And within the victims' rights
approach, women victims are particularly encouraged to participate.

The *Akahise Kadasorongoye* radio debates of 45 minutes will accompany a
broad reflection on the implementation processes of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission. By broadcasting all debates in Kirundi, the
total population of Burundi, will be targeted. Surveys have shown that
combined listenership's of the selected radios stations exceeds to more than
90% of the population. During the proposed time frame of 24 months
(2011-2012- 2013) these weekly debates of 45 minutes are horizontally
broadcasted on the seven main radio broadcasters in Burundi. These partner
radio stations are: Radio Nationale (RTNB), Radio Isanganiro, Radio RPA,
Radio Bonesha, Radio Rema FM, Radio Umuco FM, and Radio Star FM.

* *

*La Benevolencija Burundi*

*Johan Deflander*

*PO Box 7179, Bujumbura, Burundi*



would be happy to provide you with the full findings of the base line
survey if needed.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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