Africa

2 arrested in Ghana; sensational news coverage

The Ghanaian news website 233livenews.com blacked out the eyes on this published photo of two men arrested March 19 on homosexuality charges. (Photo courtesy of 233livenews.com)

The Ghanaian news website 233livenews.com blacked out the eyes on this published photo of two men arrested March 19 on homosexuality charges. (Photo courtesy of 233livenews.com)

“Man Bonks SHS Boy In Hotel” was how one homophobic news website in Ghana reported the arrest of two men last week after they allegedly had consensual sex at a hotel in Accra, the capital city.

Mamba Online, which describes itself as “South Africa’s leading gay news and lifestyle website,” reported on March 22:

This is how the Daily Guide of Ghana reported on arrest of two men for allegedly violating the country's anti-gay law. In the Daily Guide version, the two men's faces are visible. Ghana

This is how the Daily Guide of Ghana reported on the arrest of two men for allegedly violating the country’s anti-gay law. In the Daily Guide version, the two men’s faces are visible. The taller man’s obscured torso is unexplained.

According to Daily Guide, the 28-year-old and 18-year-old booked into a hotel room in Accra on Sunday evening. The receptionist is said to have “became suspicious of their movements and demeanour” and somehow “chanced upon the 28-year-old man having carnal knowledge of the 18-year-old”.

Ghana's location in Africa

Ghana’s location in Africa

The moment was apparently caught on camera (presumably by the receptionist), and pictures of the men having sex were posted on Facebook. There have, however, been suggestions that the men, who are clearly visually identifiable, may have been forced into simulating sex and then being photographed.

The authorities were called and the couple were arrested by the Kaneshie Police and remain in custody. To add a salacious element to the story, the younger partner was identified as a “Senior High School (SHS) student”.

Despite being over the age of 18, the Daily Guide attempted to suggest that the relationship was a case of predatory child abuse. It claimed that it had received reports that the older man “is a known gay activist, who lures young boys with money”.

The newspaper added: “He reportedly met the SHS boy on Facebook and managed to lure him by offering juicy gifts to him.”

In addition to the Daily Guide, other news websites in Ghana also reported the incident without objectivity or respect for the rights of the accused men.

The 233 Live News site claimed without citing evidence that “the 28-year[-old] is known for indulging in homosexual acts and often lures young children into the act.” It published the men’s photo with their eyes blacked out over the headline “Kaneshie police arrest two suspected gays.”

The Ghanaian news website Adomonline.com obscured the eyes and genitals in this published photo of two men arrested March 19 on homosexuality charges. (Photo courtesy of Adomonline.com)

The Ghanaian news website Adomonline.com obscured the eyes and genitals in this published photo of two men arrested March 19 on homosexuality charges. (Photo courtesy of Adomonline.com)

GhanaCelebrities.com quoted police as saying that the older man “goes about luring innocent students on Facebook, they met long ago, they are gay partners.” The article claimed that the 28-year-old is “a known homos*xual who recruits children to have s*x with.” The site posted what it described as a “video circulating online [that] shows the pair after they were caught.” The headline was “Man Arrested For Having Anal S*x With 18 Year Old Student In Accra (VIDEO).”

AdomOnline.com  published a photo of the two men with their eyes and genitals obscured. In fractured sentences, it repeated the police claim that “the culprit is known for molesting young men lure innocent boys on facebook. The police further disclosed that, the suspect had his victim through Facebook and has since become his gay partner.”

GhanaCelebrities and AdomOnline both made the inconsistent suggestions that the pair were long-time consensual sexual partners and that the 18-year-old was a victim of child abuse.

For men age 16 and older in Ghana, consensual same-sex intimacy is punishable by up to three years in prison.

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