Orange suspends advertising deal with Uganda’s anti-gay Red Pepper paper

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French telecoms giant Orange says it will remove its adverts from a leading homophobic newspaper in Uganda.

The move came after more than 77,000 people signed an All Out online petition calling on Orange to stop advertising with Red Pepper.

Red Pepper is notorious for outing prominent Ugandans who it claims are gay.

The paper published a list of what it called “200 homos” – a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed a tough anti-gay bill into law last month.

The law calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

Orange spokesperson Jean-Bernard Orsoni said: “Orange Uganda is advertising in most newspapers and radio stations in the country. Red Pepper is one of those newspapers and represents only a small part of the advertising mix. By publishing an ad in a newspaper we do not endorse its editorial content and we obviously have no control over the editorial content of these publications. However, the contract with Red Pepper ended on March 6, 2014 and it will not be extended until further notice.”

He added: “The group also protects all employees in crisis situations, without discrimination and supports them everywhere in the world.”

A network of LGBT campaigners in Uganda last week urged for several corporations, including Heneiken, KLM, British Airways and Barclays Bank to speak out against the law, as they all have trading links with the country.