French corporation pulls ads from Ugandan paper

Orange says it won’t renew contract with Red Pepper, which outs gay people

A French telecommunications company says it will not renew its advertising contract with Ugandan newspaper Red Pepper, which is infamous for outing gay people, Pink News reports.

The contract came to an end March 6, according to a spokesperson for Orange.

The report quotes the spokesperson as saying that the company’s decision to publish ads in the newspaper doesn’t indicate that it supports its editorial content, adding that it won’t be extending the contract with Red Pepper.

The Orange spokesperson doesn’t refer specifically to Red Pepper’s publication of a list of the names of people the paper called “Uganda’s 200 top homos,” under the headline “EXPOSED,” after President Yoweri Museveni signed off on anti-gay bill. But he says the corporation “protects all employees in crisis situations.”

Museveni’s decision to sign the anti-gay measure into law prompted a Kampala advocacy group, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, to issue guidelines to its national and global partners on ways to continue their support in the wake of the law’s enactment.

Among its appeals, the coalition calls on multinational corporations that do business in Uganda to “go public” about their concerns about the anti-gay law, the potential damage to their brand by continuing to operate in the African country, and the risks to the safety of their employees.

There have also been announcements by the World Bank, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden that they are withholding or redirecting aid to Uganda.

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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