One of America’s top experts on Uganda‘s “Kill The Gays” bill, Box Turtle Bulletin‘s editor, Jim Burroway, is now calling out journalists by name for repeated false claims that Uganda has removed the death penalty from its infamous and draconian Anti-Homosexuality bill.
Since 2009, Ugandan Member of Parliament (MP) David Bahati, has been the face of the anti-gay legislation, and has used it as a vehicle to further his political career. Now, Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who is rumored to have a desire for the presidency of Uganda, is following in his footsteps, promising the Kill The Gays bill will pass before Christmas as a “Christmas gift” to Uganda’s Christians.
Almost every year since the “Bahati bill” was taken up in Parliament, the press has been told the death penalty has been dropped. And the mainstream media and many blogs have taken the word of politicians as fact, without any investigation or request of proof, offering the false claims as fact.
Today is the perfect example:
Uganda’s anti-gay bill won’t contain death penalty
By By [sic] RODNEY MUHUMUZA, Associated Press
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The Ugandan lawmaker who originally authored an anti-gay bill proposing death for some homosexual acts said Friday that a new version of the proposed legislation doesn’t contain the death penalty.
Parliamentarian David Bahati said the bill, which is expected to be voted on next month, had “moved away from the death penalty after considering all the issues that have been raised.”
“There is no death penalty,” he told The Associated Press.
First, as a source at the State Department noted to the Washington Blade, the bill cannot be changed in committee, so the death penalty cannot have been removed.
Second, why has almost every major media outlet never questioned their own previous reporting, when they “report” that the death penalty has been removed — again? Why do they never question when it was put back in, in order for it to be removed again? And again, and again?
This is plain and simple laziness, and the mainstream media outlets like the ones Jim Burroway names today — we’ll excerpt a few below — deserve to be lambasted for falsely reporting what is in reality a life or death situation. Frankly, to my memory, the BBC and the AP are the worst violators, and their readers should sue them for journalistic malpractice.
At least in America, the press — the only industry mentioned in the constitution — is given great legal leeway, in order to be able to report the truth. When they fail at that endeavor, they deserve the utmost enmity from their readers. When it’s the corporate multi-million dollar media — who this year were given a financial windfall with all the political ads they sold — they deserve to have to pay for their poor judgment.
Meanwhile, Burroway today writes:
And because its the AP, the lie that has been heard at least fifteen times around the world over the past three years is embarking on yet another world tour, first in the New York Times, Washington Post and Fox, and from there to local news outlets. LGBT outlets and blogs — all of which have no excuse for not knowing better — are picking it up, including Queerty and Pink News. Even Huffington Post has jumped on board to turn its erstwhile progressive pages over to Bahati’s publicist.
What short memory spans everyone has. It was just last week when the BBC – per its usual jumping-the-gun instinct – announced that the decision to drop the death penalty was a done deal. In case you’re counting, that’s at least the third time the BBC announced the death penalty’s demise, and its third announcement proved just as wrong as the earlier two. So when an unnamed source at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala confirmed to the Washington Blade that:
…the committee can only compile a report on the bill for recommendations to the bill, and can’t make changes to it. That means the panel can’t take out the death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality,” which media sources reported was removed.
But as we’ve said repeatedly, it has never been removed. And we will never tell you that it has been removed until and unless, you know, it has been removed – which has never happened in the bill’s entire three year history. Although the bill’s supporters have done their best to try to convince you otherwise.
Read Burroway’s post today, “AP Is Wrong: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Still Has The Death Penalty,” for a lot more on this shameful event in journalism, and for more on what’s actually going on with Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill.
Burroway, for the record, is no fly-by-night blogger. He was honored this summer with honored with a National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Award for “Excellence in Online Journalism,” and his work has appeared on CNN, and in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and has been quoted by likely every LGBT news site and major blog.
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