Author(s): Anjan Sundaram
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 destabilise the government and, since moving to Rwanda, he had observed 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 media in a country most of whose citizens were without internet. This was the first of many ominous events. Bad News is the extraordinary 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.
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
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 an award-winning journalist who has reported from Africa for the New York Times and the Associated Press. His writing on various countries in the continent has also appeared in Granta, the Observer, Foreign Policy, Politico, Fortune and the Washington Post. He graduated from Yale and received a Reuters journalism award in 2006 for his reporting on Pygmy tribes in Congo's rain forest. in 2015 his journalism was shortlisted for the Prix Bayeux, the Frontline Club Award and a Kurt Schork Award. His first book, Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, was published to great critical acclaim in 2014. @anjansun anjansundaram.com