CNN has been accused of obfuscating important details in a recent article after framing the potential execution of two men in Uganda as being the result of the nation’s anti-LGBT laws and not the crimes they committed.
“Two men in Uganda are facing separate charges of ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ an offense punishable by death under the country’s controversial new anti-gay laws,” CNN wrote in their article on Tuesday, which was headlined “Two Ugandan men may face death penalty after ‘aggravated homosexuality’ charge.”
The initial paragraph was also used in their post on X (formerly Twitter) without defining the criminal act of “aggravated homosexuality.” The controversial Ugandan law only applies to those who engage in incest, pedophilia, or who sexually abuse the elderly or persons with disabilities.
The first man, aged 20, was charged on August 18 after he allegedly “performed unlawful sexual intercourse with one [man] aged 41 with a disability,” according to Jacqueline Okui, the spokeswoman for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Uganda.
The crime of the second man, who was arrested in eastern Uganda in July after raping a 12-year-old boy, wasn’t noted until the eleventh paragraph of the CNN article.
Users on X hastily utilized the Community Notes feature to add context to CNN’s post, outlining the crimes the two men had allegedly committed.
Other commentators were quick to accuse CNN of being a “pedophile outlet” for their reporting on the case, with some recalling the recent conviction of former CNN producer John Griffin for child sex crimes.
The way in which CNN framed the situation in Uganda is similar to a previous incident involving American author Naomi Wolf.
In 2019, Wolf had the publication of her book about the treatment of homosexual men in Victorian England cancelled after it was discovered that many of the men she had written about had been imprisoned for rape and sexual assault. During a live BBC interview, Wolf was confronted by the facts, including that in one case, the executed man had sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy.
“I can’t find any evidence that any of the relationships you describe were consensual,” BBC Radio Three’s Matthew Sweet told Wolf at the time.