Listening Post

Ugandan media and the anti-gay agenda

Are journalists on-board with the state's homophobic rhetoric or are they just reflecting sentiments of their society?

Last updated: 02 Mar 2014 09:34
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Africa does not have a very good track record when it comes to the treatment of homosexuals.

According to rights group Amnesty International, more than two thirds of the continent criminalises same-sex relations; in four countries it carries the death penalty; Uganda would have become the fifth had the proposed anti-homosexual bill passed in its original state.

The bill President Yoweri Museveni signed off on February 25 nevertheless reinforced the anti-gay narrative, making it the law of the land.

It was already illegal to be gay in Uganda, but the new bill means harsher punishments, and not just for homosexuals. One of the new clauses will make it illegal for Ugandans to promote or even talk about homosexuality unless they are condemning it as a lifestyle.

That should be a red flag for any journalist who wants to cover the subject impartially; however, critics say that the media in Uganda has - for the most part - been all too happy to get on-board with the state's homophobic agenda.

Ugandan journalists say they are just reflecting the sentiment of the society they cover, and the laws under which they work.

The Listening Post's Nic Muirhead reports on Uganda's anti-gay laws and the effect they will have on the country's media.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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