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Mobile phone giant Orange has cancelled all its advertisements from Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper, after it published a list of the country’s ‘top 200 homosexuals’.
In 2009, a now defunct tabloid, Rolling Stone, published full details of gay activist David Kato, who was then murdered two days later.
Andre Banks, Executive Director and co-founder of All Out, an international organisation building the global movement for gay rights, commended Orange, adding: ‘[Their] decision to withdraw their advertising and to explicitly support their LGBT employees should ring alarm bells for Ugandan politicians and business people about the impact this law could have on the national economy.’
@allout We’d like to inform you that Orange concluded the contract with Red Pepper since 6 March 2014.
— Orange (@orange) March 7, 2014
Orange spokesperson Jean-Bernard Orsoni told All Out in an email that Red Pepper represents only a small part of the advertising mix, and that by publishing an ad in a newspaper they do not endorse its editorial content. However, he added that the contract with Red Pepper ended on 6 March and would not be extended.
‘The Group also protects all employees in crisis situations, without discrimination and supports them everywhere in the world,’ he said.
The new Anti-Homosexuality Law recognises same-sex attraction as not ‘innate’ and subjects all gays and lesbians to a punishment of life imprisonment. Anyone, including straight people, who houses or otherwise supports gays and lesbians to authorities could now face a fine or between five and seven years in prison under the new law. Similarly, any national or international company or human rights organisation in Uganda, which supports lesbian, gay, bi or trans people (including their own employees), could face seven years jail and de-registration of the company. Unlike many other similar laws, this law explicitly calls out lesbians as well as gay men for punishment.
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