State-sanctioned discrimination and media discourses on homosexuality in Namibia

Author: Strand, Cecilia

Source: Journal of African Media Studies, Volume 3, Number 1, 1 March 2011 , pp. 57-72(16)

Publisher: Intellect

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Abstract:

The article critically discusses the events arising from the finalization of the Namibian National HIV/AIDS Policy of 2007. A series of consultative meetings throughout Namibia produced a progressive draft policy that recognized individuals engaged in same-sex sexual relationships and emphasized the distinct vulnerabilities of the group. However, despite solid epidemiological support and stakeholders' endorsement of inclusion, the key section dealing with same-sex relations never made it into print. By using document analyses, interviews and media content analysis, the article concludes that state-sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals, outlined in existing Namibian criminal laws, also resulted in a denial of their rights to health in the new HIV/AIDS policy. Moreover, the study found that the state-sanctioned discrimination is reproduced in the state-owned print media, and that LGBT individuals are dependent on the independent media for visibility. The implications of the media discourses are discussed using an agenda setting perspective.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Namibia; Sub-Saharan Africa; agenda setting; discrimination; homosexuality; media freedom

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jams.3.1.57_1

Affiliations: Uppsala University.

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS) is an interdisciplinary journal that provides a forum for debate on the historical and contemporary aspects of media and communication in Africa. 
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