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Ugandan paper ordered to stop publishing 'gay list'

Image source: Gay Uganda
(CNN) -- A judge has temporarily ordered a tabloid in Uganda to stop publishing lists identifying people it claims are gay after an advocacy organization filed a lawsuit.

The order came a day after Rolling Stone -- which has no relation to the iconic U.S. music magazine -- published a list of people it said were gay, urging readers to report them to police.

Last month the tabloid published names, photos and address of 100 people that it called the country's top gays and lesbians, alongside a yellow banner reading, "hang them."

In the temporary injunction issued on Monday, Justice Musoke Kibuuka ordered Rolling Stone from further publication of names or pictures of anyone "perceived by the respondents to be gay, lesbian, or homosexual in general."

The head of Sexual Minorities Uganda, which filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Rolling Stone, praised the judge's decision.

"This is a lesson. At least the law has shown some intelligence. It shows the media cannot invade other peoples' rights and violate other peoples' privacy," said Frank Mugisha, the organization's chairman.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for November 23, said Giles Muhame, the tabloid's managing editor.

"We will abide by the ruling and will not contest it. We were told we cannot publish any information that can lead to identification of homosexuals," he said. "Meantime, we shall continue condemning homosexuality, without publishing pictures."

Gay rights groups in Uganda have said at least four people have been attacked since the tabloid published its first list.

A bill that would make homosexuality potentially punishable by death is working its way through Uganda's parliament.

While extreme views to many, in Uganda even this sentiment holds some weight. Uganda is a mostly Christian country where local and international, particularly American, evangelicals hold great sway.

Just under two-thirds of Uganda's Christians favor making the Bible the law of the land, according to a huge study of religion in Africa by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Together with Ugandan politicians and preachers, they have lobbied for greater punishments for gays.

Source: CNN.com, November 2, 2010

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