Fact Check

REPORT: Fox News Silent On Anti-Gay Human Rights Crises

January 22, 2014 10:21 am ET

Fox News has been all but silent in reporting on major human rights crises facing gays and lesbians in Uganda, Nigeria, and India over the past few weeks, continuing the network’s pattern of turning a blind eye to significant international stories about the LGBT community.

ANALYSIS: Fox News Underreports Passage Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law

Uganda’s Parliament Passed Law Criminalizing Homosexuality. On December 20, the Ugandan Parliament passed its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, criminalizing sexual intercourse between same-sex partners with a life sentence in prison. According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor:

You engage in homosexuality, you rot in jail, according to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament on Friday. 

An excited Parliament debated and overwhelmingly passed the Bill which criminalises sexual intercourse between same-sex partners. 

The legislation provides for a sentence of life imprisonment for anyone convicted of homosexuality, which covers gays and lesbians. A proposal to put the punishment to 14 years in jail was rejected by the House. [Daily Monitor12/20/13

Fox News Spent 15 Seconds Mentioning The Passage Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis*, Fox News spent just 15 seconds covering Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law between December 16 and December 27 compared to more than seven minutes of coverage on CNN and two minutes of coverage on MSNBC:

  • Fox’s Only Mention Of Uganda Was During A Segment On Justice with Judge Jeanine Criticizing Pro-Equality Activists For Focusing On Duck Dynasty.

Ugandan President Refused To Sign The Anti-Gay Law On Procedural Grounds. In a letter to Parliament dated December 28, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni declined to sign the anti-gay measure into law, stating that it was invalid because it was passed without a parliamentary quorum. [Daily Monitor1/17/14]

ANALYSIS: Fox News Ignores Passage Of Nigeria’s Extreme Anti-Gay Law

Nigeria Passed Law Criminalizing Gay Marriage, Public Displays Of Affection. On January 13, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, public displays of affection between same-sex couples, and pro-LGBT clubs, societies, and organizations. [UPI, 1/13/14]

Law Has Already Led To Reports Of Arrests, Torture. According to the Associated Press:

First the police targeted the gay men, then tortured them into naming dozens of others who now are being hunted down, human rights activists said Tuesday, warning that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law. 

The men's alleged crime? Belonging to a gay organization. [Associated Press, 1/14/14

U.S. Is “Deeply Concerned” Over Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law. According to a statement issued by Secretary of State John Kerry:

The United States is deeply concerned by Nigeria’s enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Beyond even prohibiting same sex marriage, this law dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.

Moreover, it is inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution. [State Department, 1/13/14

Fox News Ignored The Passage Of Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law. According to an Equality Matters analysis**, Fox News ignored the passage of Nigeria’s harsh anti-gay law and the subsequent reports of arrests and torture of gay men in Nigeria during the period between January 6 and January 17:

ANALYSIS: Fox News Ignored India’s Anti-Gay Supreme Court Decision

India’s Supreme Court Reversed Lower Court Decision Decriminalizing Homosexuality. On December 11, India’s Supreme Court overturned a lower-court decision that struck down the country’s prohibition against “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” According to The Washington Post:

India’s Supreme Court overturned a historic lower-court decision on homosexuality Wednesday, making gay sex a crime in the world’s most populous democracy, with violators facing up to 10 years in prison.

The court ruled that a British colonial-era statute outlawing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” was constitutional. Changing it should be left to Parliament, not the courts, the judges ruled. [The Washington Post12/11/13

Fox News Ignored Supreme Court Decision To Uphold India’s Ban On Homosexuality. According to an Equality Matters analysis***, between December 9 and December 20, Fox News failed to mention the Indian Supreme Court’s decision declaring the country’s ban on homosexuality to be constitutional:

Fox News Has Ignored Other Human Rights Crises Affecting LGBT People 

Fox Ignored The Controversy Surrounding Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws, Winter Olympics. In July and August of 2013, Fox News largely ignored the controversy surrounding Russia’s strict new anti-gay laws, which could have an impact on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February:

[Equality Matters8/7/13]

Fox News Ignored The Reemergence Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation. Between October and December of 2012, Fox News ignored the reemergence of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, devoting significantly more time to discussing the Korean pop song “Gangnam Style”:

[Equality Matters12/12/12]


*Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “Uganda” between December 16 and December 27. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

**Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “Nigeria” between January 6 and January 17. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded. 

***Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes for the word “India” between December 9 and December 20. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.

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