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Bad News

Last Journalists in a Dictatorship

Anjan Sundaram

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27 January 2016
Memoirs; History; African history; Freedom of information & freedom of speech; Press & journalism
The incredible story of the rise of dictatorship and the fall of open speech, as told by the last free journalists to remain in Rwanda.

Hearing a blast, journalist Anjan Sundaram headed uphill towards the sound. Grenade explosions are not entirely unusual in the city of Kigali; dissidents throw them in public areas to try and destabilize the government and, since moving to Rwanda, he had reported on an increasing number of them.

What was unusual about this one, however, was that when Sundaram arrived, it was as though nothing had happened. Traffic circulated as normal, there was no debris on the streets and the policeman on duty denied any event whatsoever. This was evidence of a clean-up, a cloaking of the discontent in Rwanda and a desire to silence the print media in a country whose citizens were without internet. And, ominously, this was the first of many examples.

Bad News is the incredible account of the battle for free speech in modern-day Rwanda. Following not only those journalists who stayed, despite fearing torture or even death from a ruthless government, but also those reporting from exile, it is the story of papers being shut down, of lies told to please foreign delegates, of the unshakeable loyalty that can be bred by terror, of history being retold, of constant surveillance, of corrupted elections and of great courage.

It tells the true narrative of Rwandan society today and, in the face of powerful forces, of the fight to make explosions heard.
By:   Anjan Sundaram
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   230g
ISBN:   9781408866467
ISBN 10:   1408866463
Publication Date:   27 January 2016
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Out of Print
Author Website:

Reviews for Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship

Required reading ... A superb expose of a dictatorship as he observes how the tentacles of totalitarianism squeeze the life from a society. Bad News is an important book that should shatter any lingering faith people might hold in Kagame's hideous regime ... This is a desolate work, taut prose describing the stifling atmosphere of a nation trapped in fear Guardian Superb, timely ... It is nothing less than the best book written about Rwanda by an outsider, a massively important contribution to understanding what is one of Africa's most important, inscrutable, regimes -- Richard Poplak All In Africa Powerful and shocking Sunday Times Few people have suffered the hideous fate of Rwandans in the modern era. It is shocking, painful beyond words, to see the darkness settling again in a dystopia that is crushing free expression and individual lives. This searing, evocative account provides insights about the human condition that reach far beyond the tragic story of Rwanda -- Noam Chomsky Here is a commanding new writer who comes to us with the honesty, the intensity, and the discerning curiosity of the young Naipaul -- Pico Iyer A sensitive writer. He feels deeply and expresses himself richly ... a powerful evocation of the foreign correspondent's experience The Times Anjan Sundaram's prose is so luscious ... that the words come alive and practically dance on the page -- Barbara Demick, author of the Samuel Johnson Prize-winner 'Nothing to Envy' In this thoughtful and evocative book, Anjan Sundaram takes us into the lives of those living under a dictatorship. He chronicles the sacrifices of the brave journalists who try to speak the truth about their own country, the damage those truths inflict on those who bear witness, and the horrors of silence for those who cannot speak. His clipped and lucid prose offers an illuminating look into a place too often ignored by the rest of the world -- Graeme Smith, author of 'The Dogs Are Eating Them Now' Anjan Sundaram is a keen observer and a fine writer. In Bad News, he has rendered a chilling chronicle of the creeping totalitarianism taking hold in Rwanda that is as disturbing as it is unforgettable -- Jon Lee Anderson One of the finest works of reportage in living memory The Australian Sundaram immediately captures the paranoia one feels in a country where citizens are both censored and self-censoring ... Delicate and evocative prose ... Subtle reminders of the country's violent past echo throughout the book ... This book is a timely one Irish Times

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