Equality Matters

Gangnam Style Overshadows Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill In Cable News Coverage

December 12, 2012 9:24 am ET

An Equality Matters analysis found that cable news networks’ coverage of the reemergence of Uganda’s proposed “Kill the Gays” bill – legislation which would make homosexuality punishable by death – has been scant over the past several weeks and paled in comparison to their coverage of the Korean pop song “Gangnam Style.”

Analysis: Cable News Networks Underreported Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill

Cable News Networks Underreported Reemergence Of “Kill The Gays” Bill, Focused On Gangnam Style. According to an Equality Matters analysis, between October 31 and December 5, both CNN and Fox News devoted more time to covering Korean pop star Psy’s song “Gangnam Style” than reporting on the renewed support for the passage of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” law. There is no indication that Fox News covered the measure: 

Ugandan Parliament Speaker Has Promised To Bring “Kill The Gays” Bill To A Vote. In October, Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga vowed to bring the country’s controversial “Kill the Gays” bill up for a vote. Her statement came in response to the threat that Western countries, including the United States, might cut off foreign aid to Uganda over the country’s treatment of LGBT people.

KADAGA: I will not accept to be intimidated or to be directed by any government in the world because we are independent. We are Ugandans.

[...]

I will now instruct the chair of the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to quickly bring the report of the anti-homosexuality bill so that we discuss it and so that Uganda can take a position.

[...]

If the price of aid is going to be promoting homosexuality in this country, I think we don’t want that aid. I don’t think we want it. [Think Progress, 10/31/12, emphasis added]

Kadaga Pledged To Pass “Kill The Gays” Bill As A “Christmas Gift” To The Law’s Supporters. According to BBC News:

Ms Kadaga said she hoped the bill, first tabled in 2009 and now before a parliamentary committee, would be passed by the end of the year, Reuters news agency reports.

"Ugandans want that law as a Christmas gift. They have asked for it and we'll give them that gift," Ms Kadaga is quoted as saying. [BBC News, 11/13/12]

“Kill The Gays” Bill Is Likely To Pass, Vote Could Be “Any Day.” According to the Huffington Post:

In the next few weeks the Ugandan parliament is poised to bring back a bill that would sentence lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to imprisonment and in some cases death.

[…]

The bill has been scheduled for an "order of business to follow" and could be voted on this week. It is expected to easily pass, and then it will be up to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to veto the bill. His veto could be overturned by the assembly. [Huffington Post, 11/26/12]

“Kill The Gays” Bill Maintains Death Penalty For Homosexuality, Even After Revisions. According to Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway: 

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced into Parliament last February and referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for possible modifications. When the same committee considered the bill in May of 2011, the committee recommended a sly change to the bill, removing the explicit language of “suffer(ing) death,” and replacing it with a reference to the penalties provided in an unrelated already existing law. That law however specifies the death penalty. Which means that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee actually recommended that the death penalty be retained through stealth while the bill’s supporters publicly stated that the penalty had been removed. [Box Turtle Bulletin, 10/31/12]

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by TV Eyes and Snapstream for the terms “Uganda” and “Gangnam” between October 31, 2012 (Kadaga’s announcement) and December 5. Reruns were excluded. For segments that discussed a variety of issues including Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, only time spent discussing the bill was recorded.

&mdash C.M.

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