Media Representation of LGBTQ People in Africa

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This resource is relevant for humanitarian practitioners working in the region because it provides insight into the ways LGBTQI+ issues are communicated to the public—something to keep in mind during humanitarian crises and interventions.

This report presents the findings of a media classification study. The study classified media reports as either positive/neutral coverage; incomplete coverage; or negative coverage; and with either a positive statement tone; neutral statement tone; or negative statement tone. Media was analysed for source (i.e. legal experts, journalists, NGO staff); population ‘categories’ (i.e. LGBTQI, trans men, low-income, deprived of freedom/incarcerated) and use of language (human-rights informed, hate speech, moralising).

The report found that, overall, South African news media coverage of LGBTQI+ issues and communities is by far the best across nearly every indicator. Botswana had the second most positive stories while Malawi was in the middle. Uganda was the only country that featured a majority of negative statements, and had the fewest stories that were positive or neutral in coverage tone. Kenya and Uganda use ‘homosexuality’ as an abstract concept, unlike in South Africa and Botswana, where news stories humanise LGBTQI+ people by using their names (where safe and with consent) and amplifying their voices.

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"Compared to Kenya, Uganda, or Malawi, the reporting on transgender issues in Botswana was quite good, but some instances of misgendering persist, as does general confusion among reporters."

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This report presents the findings of a media classification study. The study classified media reports as either positive/neutral coverage; incomplete coverage; or negative coverage; and with either a positive statement tone; neutral statement tone; or negative statement tone. Media was analysed for source (i.e. legal experts, journalists, NGO staff); population ‘categories’ (i.e. LGBTQI, trans men, low-income, deprived of freedom/incarcerated) and use of language (human-rights informed, hate speech, moralising).

The report found that, overall, South African news media coverage of LGBTQI+ issues and communities is by far the best across nearly every indicator. Botswana had the second most positive stories while Malawi was in the middle. Uganda was the only country that featured a majority of negative statements, and had the fewest stories that were positive or neutral in coverage tone. Kenya and Uganda use ‘homosexuality’ as an abstract concept, unlike in South Africa and Botswana, where news stories humanise LGBTQI+ people by using their names (where safe and with consent) and amplifying their voices.