Activists condemn Ugandan tabloids’ homophobic violence

Date: October 15, 2010
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Johannesburg 15 October – On the 2nd of October 2010, a newly formed illegally operating tabloid called The Rolling Stone in Uganda published a story in its front page titled “100 pictures of Uganda’s Top homos leak”. The sub headlines were; “we shall recruit 1,000,000 innocent kids by 2012- homos” and “Parents now face heart breaks as Homos raid schools”. On Page 2, the headline was “HANG THEM; They are after our kids!!” Pictures of Uganda’s Top 100 homos leak”. The article published about nine pictures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists and human rights defenders in Uganda.

This is happening in a context where on the 14th of October 2009 the parliament of Uganda tabled an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that makes provision for life imprisonment for homosexual crimes and death sentence for repeated crimes of homosexuality and about 5 to 7 years in prison for failing to report such crimes to the authorities. It is disturbing that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people of Uganda continue to be subjected to such degrading and inhumane treatment.

The actions of the Rolling Stone tabloid have grossly violated the privacy and dignity of the individuals concerned and therefore violate the constitution of Uganda and various International Human Rights Instruments to which the state of Uganda is subscribed including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Banjul Charter) of 1981 which states that “every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status” and Article 1(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsof 1966 which states that ” all people have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that rights they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”

Whilst the Coalition of African Lesbians welcomes the decision of the Uganda Media Council to stop the operations of the Rolling Stone tabloid with immediate effect in terms of section 5 of the Press and Journalist Act of Uganda, we would like to point out that transgender people remain the most affected by homophobic and patriarchal violence in Africa. There is an obvious intersection of sexuality, gender identity and violence for people who do not conform to traditional gender norms and stereotypes in society. This calls for all of us to open up to non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities in a way that broadens gender analysis, thinking, debate and our general livelihoods as diverse people in Africa and globally.

We call on media regulators to counter the IMPUNITY AND DETEST with which minority groups are portrayed in media on the continent, particular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. This statement is endorsed by all delegates from different parts of the globe attending the 4th Gender and Media Summit held in Boksburg, South Africa.

For further enquiries contact Eunice Namugwe, Media and Communications Officer and/or Fikile Vilakazi, Programs Director. Tel: +27 11 918 2182 /5507/ 6115, e-mail: and/or

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