Nigerian press tries to blunt protest against anti-gay bill

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (Photo by Ricardo Stuckert via Wikimedia Commons)

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (Photo by Ricardo Stuckert via Wikimedia Commons)

The press in Nigeria tends to be unsympathetic to gay rights, to put it mildly.

For example, although the Nigerian PM News acknowledges the existence of the Allout.org online campaign against the latest anti-gay bill in Nigeria, it focuses only on foreign opposition to the bill by gay activists.

Many organizations, not just gay rights groups, want Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to veto the bill if it passes, but you wouldn’t know that from the PM News article.

Opponents of the bill are described as the “homosexual lobby,” the “gay lobby,” and “gay sympathisers.”

Local opponents of the bill are listed merely as groups that All Out “claims” as partners. (Describing a statement as a “claim” is a lame, old journalistic trick that  casts suspicion on a statement without presenting any information to dispute it.)

The issue of human rights is raised only in the context of “top U.S. human rights official” Michael Posner saying that he has not discussed the anti-gay bill with Nigerian politicians.

The article states, in part:

A gay lobby in the United States, All Out, has started a global campaign to collect 100,000 signatures of sympathisers to mount pressure on Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign the impending law against homosexuals.

As of Saturday evening, the group has collected close to 70,000 signatures. But how these efforts will persuade President Jonathan not to sign the bill into law, remains to be seen.

The group claims to be working with partner organisations in Nigeria, such as Changing Attitude Nigeria, Improve Your Health Initiative, Initiative for Advancement of Humanity, International Centre for Advocacy on Right to Health, Sexual Minorities Against AIDS in Nigeria, the Initiative for Equal Rights, Nigerian LGBTI’s in the Diaspora against Anti-Same Sex Laws.

The bill would provide a 14-year prison sentence for people who enter into “a same-sex marriage contract, or civil union.”

It would provide a 10-year sentence for anyone “who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria.”

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