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NMSU journalism department head will teach workshop in Rwanda

New Mexico State University journalism department head Steven Pasternack will help present a ten-day workshop in the East African nation of Rwanda March 8-17.


Pasternack will instruct Rwandan journalists about court reporting and legal issues related to the press. Two other Americans also are involved in the workshop. Boston attorney Jane Rocamora will teach Rwandans about their legal system and ABC Nightline producer George Murphy will broadcast a town meeting on legal issues that will air throughout Rwanda.

Pasternack said he was selected because of his ability to teach in French, and because of his background in teaching mass communication law.

The two main ethnic groups in Rwanda, the Hutu and the Tutsi, have been embroiled in a civil war for many years. In 1994, Hutu extremists launched a patriotic front and murdered close to one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. In a three-month period, one-seventh of the Rwandan population was murdered. No coherent government system has been established since the genocide, except for the appointment of President Pasteur Bizimungu.

"It is a country in disarray," Pasternack said. "We hope to bring a sense of responsibility to journalists in Rwanda as a step toward development of rule of law."

The workshop will coincide with the trials of more than 100,000 Hutu accused of having taken part in the 1994 genocide. Pasternack said that scattered ethnic killings continue in Rwanda but that Kigali, the capital of Rwanda and the location of the workshop, is secure.

This is Pasternack's second visit to the country. Last July he conducted a seminar on desktop publishing for Rwandan journalists.

The workshop is sponsored by the United States Information Agency and the Rwandan Office of Information.