Ugandan authorities have slapped a $1,000 fine on a private radio station for broadcasting a show that featured three gay people talking about their lives in Uganda, the nation's information minister said Monday. The show contained no explicit sexual content, but the Ugandan Broadcasting Council fined Radio Simba FM for promoting pornography and corrupting public morals, said information minister James Nsaba Buturo.
The show aired on August 26 and featured two gay men and a lesbian talking about discrimination in the East African country and appealing to listeners to respect their rights.
"We fined the radio station because they gave audience to the homosexuals. By doing so, we are sending a message of warning to all other radios intending to do the same to stop," Buturo said. "What they did was against the law and those breaking the law are punished."
Ugandan law prohibits sex between two people of the same gender, but there is no specific statute against broadcasting radio shows that feature gay men and lesbians.
Simba FM operates on a tight budget, and the station may go to court to challenge the fine, said Joshua Kyalimpa, a producer at Simba. "We are consulting our lawyers to see how we can push this issue to justice," Kyalimpa said. "If we give people an opportunity to express themselves, we believe we are not breaking any law." There are about 50 radio stations operating in Uganda, a country of about 25 million people.