Gay censorship in Uganda

 Media ensors take action against gay productions



  Rivers of Prejudice...

Uganda charges British producer over gay stage play


Link Here 14th September 2012  full story: Gay censorship in Uganda...Media ensors take action against gay productions

river and mountain The authorities in Uganda have charged a British theatre producer, David Cecil, for staging a play about the condition of gay people in the country.

He appeared in court accused of disobeying lawful orders , because the play The River and the Mountain by Beau Hopkins was performed without authorisation. Cecil was denied bail.

The play, with the main character being a gay businessman killed by his own employees,  was performed at two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last month.

Update: Hearing

5th December 2012. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

Only days before the play was set to open in August, Cecil received a letter from the country's Media Council, the body tasked with regulation of media. It stated the play was to be suspended pending an official content review. Cecil and his company, under legal advice, interpreted this as a request rather than an order. Initially, the play was to run at the National Theatre, open to the general public but Cecil decided to move the production to private venues and eight performances were seen by an invited audience. Cecil was arrested after the short run, and branded a gay rights activist by an angry media.

Cecil's second hearing is taking place tomorrow. There, it will be decided if the prosecution have enough evidence to take the case to court. Cecil's legal team will argue that there were no references to any parts of the constitution or penal code in the letter from the Media Council. It did not refer to any legal consequences if they should choose to perform the play. Furthermore, Cecil says the Media Council is supposed to be an advisory body, it holds no executive authority over individuals' rights to express themselves.

A petition calling for the charges against Cecil to be dropped has been signed by more than 2,500 people, including Mike Leigh, Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig and Simon Callow. The petition was organised by Index on Censorship and David Lan, the artistic director of the Young Vic.

 

 Update: The River Runs Free...

Producer prosecuted for staging gay play in Uganda sees the case against him dismissed


Link Here 4th January 2013  full story: Gay censorship in Uganda...Media ensors take action against gay productions

river and mountainCharges against British theatre producer David Cecil were dropped by a Ugandan court on 2nd January. Cecil, who faced trial for producing a play with a gay theme without permission from the country's Media Council, told Index the magistrate had declared the case dismissed as the prosecution had failed to disclose any evidence.

Cecil was arrested in September last year, when his theatre company refused to halt its production of The River and the Mountain pending a content review by the Ugandan Media Council.

Index on Censorship and David Lan, the artistic director of the Young Vic, launched a petition calling for the charges against Cecil to be dropped which was signed by more than 2,500 people, including director Mike Leigh, Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig andactor Simon Callow.

Cecil told Index:

Evidently, there is a minority in the government and cultural industry who are willing to sacrifice the constitutional right to freedom of expression to their personal prejudices. However, the unsuccessful prosecution of this case is encouraging, and I pray that those working in the cultural industry are not put off by this oppressive and self-interested minority.

Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy at Index on Censorship said:

We're very pleased for David that the magistrate has dismissed this case --- but concerns remain over the state of free speech in Uganda. Since this prosecution, the Media Council has intervened to censor yet another political play. The government and its agencies need to do more to defend free speech.

Update: Deportation

9th February 2013. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

David Cecil, the British theatre producer arrested in Uganda in 2012 for staging a play with a homosexual protagonist, is being held in police custody after being threatened with deportation.

Immigration officers took Cecil from his home in the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, on Thursday to Jinja Road police station, where he is being held. Fridah Mutesi, a human rights lawyer in Uganda, said the government did not disclose the grounds on which Cecil was being deported, but that it had the power to deport individuals deemed undesirable .

In January Cecil was charged with disobeying lawful orders by the Uganda media council, which said he had staged The River and The Mountain despite being told not to. The case was dismissed owing to a lack of evidence. It is believed that the deportation order is a result of his staging the play, which Cecil has described as a comedy drama about a gay businessman killed by his employees . The producer's lawyer, Godwin Buwa, said the government was unhappy about Cecil's court case last month being dismissed.

 

 Update: Inquorate...

Uganda's extreme anti-gay law struck down on a technicality


Link Here 2nd August 2014  full story: Gay censorship in Uganda...Media ensors take action against gay productions
Uganda flag Gay rights campaigners in Uganda and around the world are celebrating a decision by the country's constitutional court to strike down a widely condemned anti-gay law on a legal technicality.

Activists in the courtroom cheered after a panel of five judges ruled that the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections that not enough MPs were in attendance.

While celebrating the ruling, activists warned that homosexuality remained a criminal offence in the east African country under colonial-era laws.

 


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