Ugandan tabloid The Red Pepper identified 200 people it said were the country’s “top homos.”
The front page story read in part: “EXPOSED! Uganda’s 200 Top Homos Named.” The front page report included four photos.
The front page report came after Uganda’s president Yoweri Musevini signed a law banning homosexual acts on Jan. 24, Voice of America reported. According to the BBC, “The new law allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and also criminalises the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality’, where activists encourage others to come out.”
See below an image of the front page, via the Daily Mail/AFP/Getty Images.
Red Pepper‘s news editor claimed that it didn’t identify anyone who wasn’t publicly out, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported:
“Red Pepper news editor, Ben Byarabaha, said they published the full names of only the well-known activists and had tried to use nicknames for those not publicly gay. Others, such as a retired Anglican cleric who supports gay rights, are listed as sympathizers.”
However, one Ugandan gay activist, Pepe Julian Onziema, said some of the newly identified people are “scared and they need help.”
iMediaEthics has written to Red Pepper for more information about its decision to publish the list.
A few years ago, a Ugandan court ruled against Ugandan weekly newspaper The Rolling Stone for publishing in October 2010 a list of more than 100 people who were allegedly homosexual. The judge, Justice Kibuuka Musoke, said in part:
“Gays are also entitled to their rights. This court has found that there was infringement of some people’s confidential rights. The court hereby issues an injuction restraining Rolling Stone newspaper from future publishing of identifications of homosexuals.”
The Rolling Stone’s managing editor Giles Muhame told iMediaEthics at the time the newspaper planned to appeal the ruling and that he found the people the newspaper identified on a “gay-networking website.”
According to the BBC, one of the people identified by The Rolling Stone, David Kato, was killed in 2011.