Report finds Arabic media perpetuates homophobia and transphobia in the region

OutRight Action International launches new report titled, Arab Mass Media: A Monitoring Report Looking at Sexuality and Gender Identity in Arabic Media from 2014 to 2017.

The report, available in both English and Arabic monitors widespread local and national newspapers in 14 countries in the Arab region, radio, TV channels, and social media platforms to assess the current language journalists use to talk about LGBT+ people and if the coverage is positive, negative, or neutral.

The report finds that currently journalists in the region often use derogatory terms that perpetuate homophobia and transphobia and reflect a wider poor human rights culture in the region.

The report highlights evidence of hate speech inspired by religious doctrine, medical misinformation, and legal fallacies being used to describe LGBT+ people.

Jessica Stern

Jessica Stern

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, said: “All around the world the use of homophobic and transphobic language in the media has perpetuated prejudice and lies about LGBT+ communities. We must work to sensitise the media and journalists in order to change negative public opinions about LGBT+ issues and move towards respect, equality, and acceptance for all.”

Report findings include:

♦  Out of 332 articles analysed in the time period, 260 contained derogatory terms to describe LGBT+ people

♦  Some common words used to describe LGBT+ people translate to mean “faggots” “sinners” “immoral” and “devil worshippers”

♦  45% of the articles concerned incidents of arrest, detention or trials of LGBT+ people.

♦  Less than 10 stories out of 332 articles reviewed centered on violence against LGBT+ people.

♦  Higher incidents of hate speech against LGBT+ people were documented from online platforms than from print media.

Nazeeha Saeed

Nazeeha Saeed

Nazeeha Saeed, OutRight’s Arabic Media Coordinator, noted that not all of the coverage was negative and said: “While most of the reporting is very negative and even derogatory, there are a few noteworthy exceptions. For example, when media reported on singer Ricky Martin’s engagement to a Syrian boyfriend, the language was surprisingly neutral. I think the reason is that foreign musicians and artists are given more leeway in society, and so the reporting also becomes more accepting.”

OutRight has develop a media training booklet geared towards correcting common misunderstandings about LGBT+ people among Arab journalists and promote the use of more neutral terminology used by the United Nations to cover these issues.

To download the training booklet in Arabic, click here:

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