If journalists did their job

If journalists did their job

Date: December 9, 2010
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by Danny Glenwright

By now many are familiar with the recent Rolling Stone article calling for Uganda’s “top” homosexuals to be hanged. The story, like many others recently published in Uganda, claimed there was a gay campaign to recruit school children. This piece of “journalism” is in good company in the region, where gays and lesbians are frequently the victims of a morally bereft, voracious tabloid media.

These lazy “journalists” tarnish the profession with their puerile discrimination. Even worse, they stir up hatred and cause an increase in violent attacks on gays and lesbians throughout the region. Yet it seems their numbers are on the rise.

As we enter the period of 16 Days of Activism to end gender-based violence, it is important to look at the media’s role in perpetuating such violence, especially against Africa’s gay community.

In the recently released United Nations Human Development Index (which ranks countries based on life expectancy, education and literacy levels and standard of living) Malawi and Uganda both fall into the last category, under the title “low human development”. Malawi is sandwiched between Rwanda and Sudan, just a handful of spots from the very bottom of the index.

Yet despite immense suffering and poverty, the region’s media has too often decided to ignore these important issues in favour of sensationalism and homophobic witch hunts. Sadly, this same media is just a complacent flunky for the region’s pipers: the many politicians who speak hate about gays and lesbians to deflect attention from the real problems in their respective countries.

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