This week our class discussed in depth what we believe to be the definition of an authoritarian state. Authoritarian states are those whose governments have firm control over all organs of the state, including what is seen in the media and the state institutions. The government of an authoritarian state controls the information that the public receives within the state, as well as outside of it. They manage information to put themselves into a positive light. Discussing this definition after listening to Erin Jessee’s talk about her experience made Rwanda’s authoritarian government become real for me. I was able to see exactly how the government monitored Erin in her research. Erin mentioned that the government seems very open to researchers at first glance, yet once the subject of their research begins to turn political the government is quick to silence it. Because of this the view of Rwanda that the rest of the world gets is not entirely accurate. Many stories of restoring the country are coming directly from the government and are not reflecting the actuality of life in rural Rwanda for the majority of Rwandan citizens. Yet as Erin brought to our attention, there are not many people looking to delve deeper into the lives of Rwandans, and the select few who try are quickly stopped by the Rwandan government. There is not a large outcry in the Western world for information that leads any deeper to this country’s problems, and therefore very little will change about the accuracy of the information the outside world receives.
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
hidden agendas of an authoritarian stateBy maggie on February 11, 2013
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