Gays want politicians to end stigmatisation-Namibian Sun

Date: May 31, 2010
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Name of article: Gays want politicians to end stigmatisation
Name of publication: Namibian Sun
Date: 29 October 2009
Country: Namibia
Theme: Sexuality
Skills: Sourcing
Genre: News
GEM classification: Gender aware


This article is about gays and lesbians demanding that Namibian political parties address issues affecting them. Representative of the Rainbow Association challenged political parties to address gender based problems in Namibia. They expressed their displeasure at being treated as second class citizens at a workshop organised by the Women’s Leadership Centre in Windhoek.


This article:
– Is an example of a gender aware article
– Highlights the rights of people of diverse sexual orientations. In this case lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and Trans-gender (LGBTs) rights are placed on the agenda
– Showcases good journalism in which, amongst other values, the role of journalists to hold those in power to account is exercised
– Talks to the issues of minority groups and the marginalisation of such groups
– Encourages more debate and dialogue around issues of sexual orientation

The headline of the article raises the core demand and highlights the issue of stigmatisation. It compels the reader to look at an article in which rights, stigmatization and holding politicians to account are being addressed.

The article is very strong on sourcing in which diversity of views are expressed – voices which are both competing and complimentary. This article is thus balanced and fair. For example, while the story is told from the point of view of the Rainbow project’s Interim Director, Madelene Isaacks, there are a number of civil society and political voices also expressing their opinions over the issue under discussion. It allows the reader to assess multiple perspectives.

Political sources quoted in the story include a male and female, each representing different political parties. (Linda Nakatana speaks on behalf of the Rally for Democracy and Progress. The other source is the President of the Congress of Democrats who is male as well as SWANU, another political party in Namibia.) Previous studies on gender and the media have shown there are fewer women as opposed to men who are canvassed for commentary in political stories. Most women appear in roles that emphasise their “feminine” roles. This story therefore brings in a fresh angle.

Civil society organizations, especially those who work in the field of promoting gender equality, are given a platform as well. Organisations such as the Gender and Media Southern African Network, (GEMSA) express their concern at the lack of political will to address gender issues.

As agenda setters, media have a responsibility to bring such all matters to the fore for public debate, including topics that society shies away from. This article brings to light a “taboo” subject (Rights of LGTs). The diverse voices heighten the value of the input. One of the tenets of good journalism is reportage which encourages the promotion of an informed citizenry and this article does this. It highlights the nuances of and between political parties and allows the reader to assess parties in respect of what they say and what they do. Parties views are juxtaposed, for example while SAWNU is quoted as saying that homosexuality is a private matter, an alternative view on privacy is presented, allowing readers’ to make up their own mind.

The article attempts to dispel myths and stereotyping.

Readers can make sense of election campaigning and issue-based demands. Election campaigns are generally packed with promises and this article critical examines party promises and issues and provides a platform for comparison. However, most parties, the article argues, are silent on their position on sexual orientation.

This article uses neutral language.

The picture accompanying the stories enhances the message. Madelene Isaacks is shown wearing a t-shirt with the words, ‘How many lesbians have to die before hate is a crime? The caption below the picture states: ‘Hate is a crime.” This is useful message in the campaign against homophobia. In recent years Southern Africa has seen a surge in cases of homophobia, some resulting in death.


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