Anti-LGBTQ: no punishment to the media for coverage – MP

Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, a co-sponsor of the anti-LGBTQ bill says the law won't go after media houses for reporting on LGBTQ+ related issues

Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, the MP for South Dayi and a co-sponsor of the Proper Human Sexual and Family Values bill has said the bill does not provide punishment to media houses for their coverage of related events. He said this following increasing fears that the media could be monitored and punished for reporting on LGBTQ+ events. This follows the passage of the popular anti-LGBTQ bill by Parliament late last month.

However, the lawmaker said media houses are free to report and use their editorial discretion to speak on issues. He said the focus is on organizers of such events, not those who report on them.

Speaking to Citi TV, he said Parliament has “amended provisions 10 and 11 of the law to the constitution”. He said if the media hears that “a group of people are protesting at Circle, and what they are protesting is newsworthy,” the media can exercise their “editorial discretion to cover it”.

According to Dafeamekpor, in such circumstances, the anti-LGBTQ law will not “come after you because that is the exercise of your editorial discretion”. He said, “The law will look at the people who organized the event and the intent of organizing that event. If the event is to promote LGBTQ+ activities, then the law will have its full recourse.”

“We have not proscribed the constitutional rights of media houses to exercise their editorial discretion in this matter, we haven’t. If you cover an event for purposes of your media work, or education, there’s no ill intent or malice,” he explained.

Responding to critics, the South Dayi lawmaker said laws are made to protect people. He argued that no right is ever absolute, thus a need for people to understand that there are limitations.

“Rights are not absolute; you have a right to smoke tobacco, which is a natural vegetative. The health personnel will tell you the health consequences thereafter and that if you do so it’s at your own peril. The smoking of tobacco is not proscribed by the state. But another vegetative plant ‘marijuana’ is proscribed.

“The state has the right to protect the public from anything it thinks is injurious to public health. We are proscribing certain content; a man sleeping with an animal is proscribed. We are saying that two men cannot engage in sexual activities. We are banning all forms,” he stated.

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