Activists Question Motives and More harm than good? Anonymous used Photos from My Advocate Article that can hurt the gay man depicted.
By Melanie Nathan, August 15, 2012
Ugandan government websites hacked and defaced include the official website of the Office of the Prime Minister. The following is an excerpt from a message posted to that website:
Anonymous has hacked and defaced several Ugandan government websites in support of LGBT pride and in retaliation for draconian and inhumane anti-gay government policies.
You have been warned, repeatedly to expect us.
Your violations of the rights of LGBT people have disgusted us. ALL people have the right to live in dignity free from the repression of someone else’s political and religious beliefs. You should be PROUD of your LGBT citizens, because they clearly have more balls than you will ever have.
Real Ugandan Pride is demonstrated in standing up to oppression despite fearing the abuse, torture and murder inflicted on LGBT at the hands of the corrupt government.
Melanie Nathan –
While I support all protests against the anti-gay Ugandan Government, I fear this may cause a backlash to the LGBTI community of activists who so bravely showed their faces at Pride.
In fear that they have failed to consider the particular sensitive issues involved to the Ugandan LGBT gay community. In the words of one activist, Val Kalende:
” My concern is the manner in which Anonymous claim to speak on behalf of Uganda LGBT activists with no consultation whatsoever. Has SMUG or any other organization asked them hack government websites? Do they understand how their actions could be perceived by Ugandans? I question the motive of Anonymous.They need to be advised. Those well-meaning interventions can cause severe backlash for activists on the ground. Hacking government websites to “help” victims of state-sponsored homophobia? Who does that? I think this extremist violent intervention MUST STOP. I would advise you speak to activists on the ground for their views on this.”
Many photographs have circulated the internet putting the gay community at risk. Some of those photos were specifically approved by Uganda’s SMUG and FARUG – and I was the one who gained the permission to publish those in the Advocate. However we provided strictest copyright wording to ensure those photos would not be used inappropriately.
The photo used by Anonymous which is now all over the internet is harmful and should not have been used in that fashion. I have tweeted anonymous asking for a remedy. G-d knows how it can be changed at this time.
It seems Anonymous may have used those photos without authority and so in their attempt to help the Ugandan gay community, may in fact be causing more harm to the actual brave activists who put themselves on the line.
The Article I wrote in the Advocate did extremely well with over 12,000 Facebook likes. Most people respected the copyright that was written – “Photos by David Robinson© 2012, c/o Melanie Nathan for one time use by The Advocate with this article only. All Rights Reserved. SMUG and FARUG of Uganda have approved use of images contained herein.”
Many publications did not and went ahead and published. We gave permission after the fact to those publications in the hope that we could still control the positive use of the photos.
However now Anonymous did not ask for permission and we would have directed them to a less identifying more benign picture and perhaps given permission, depending on the use. Instead they have associated one photo and one face with the publication of the hack.
How could anonymous be so insensitive to the real persecution of the activists on the ground? How are they going to help that man who may now be a target of the Ugandan Government.
While I support most hacking by Anonymous, I regret this one and especially the use of the photos of the brave activists in this fashion and urge all publications NOT to use the photo in question.
The Advocate Article by Melanie Nathan and photo used http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/commentary/2012/08/08/see-photos-ugandans-both-proud-and-brave?page=0,1
Ugandan gay activist comment: – Victor Mukasa “But why hack gov’t sites anyway? How different is that from the West cutting all aid to UG? Anonymous could do better. We need those sites to keep track of what those guys are doing. Many Ugandans need those sites. Shame. As for the pic, shame!!!! Am glad u pointed this out Melanie.”
Details can be found at Gay Star News where Dan Littauer Reports:
“Anonymous is a loosely associated group of ‘hacktivists’ which originated in 2003.
It strongly opposes any form of oppression and censorship, and has been recently started to target governments which have anti-LGBT polices. Some of its members sometimes appear in public wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
The websites of office of the prime minister of Uganda and the Uganda Justice Law and Order Sector were hacked by hacktivist named @DramaSett3r on twitter, in an operation dubbed #OpFuckAfrica. The activist also downloaded the databases of both sites and has threatened that their contents may be revealed.”
“Visitors to a website for Uganda’s prime minister would probably be shocked, for example, to find a newly posted, official recognition of Gay Pride Week that includes a formal apology to gay people from the prime minister himself.
One of the early fake posts included a photo from an actual gay pride event held in the country. The photo was originally published by The Advocate‘s website with permission from the event’s organizers but was used without permission by Anonymous as part of its protest.
Melanie Nathan, the blogger who wrote about the photos, was critical of Anonymous’s use of the image because she said it could put in danger an activist who it featured and who wasn’t involved in the hacking. Nathan had praised Pride participants in her article on The Advocate‘s website for bravely taking part in the events in a country that criminalizes gay sex and that has proposed the infamous “kill the gays” legislation, which has so far languished in Parliament.
“While I support all protests against the anti-gay Ugandan Government, I fear this may cause a backlash to the LGBTI community of activists who so bravely showed their faces at Pride,” Nathan wrote on her blog, oblogdeeoblogda. Nathan quoted one of the activists who had attended Uganda’s first pride events despite the risks and who wants the protest by Anonymous to end.”
- Anonymous Hacks Ugandan Government In Retaliation For Anti-LGBT Policies (thinkprogress.org)
- Watch Ugandan Gay Activist Frank Mugisha Debate Gay- Hating Evangelical Scott Lively (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Ugandan Gay Pride a Great Success (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Anonymous group attacks Uganda government for LGBT rights (bikyamasr.com)
- Ugandan Police Raid Beach Pride Party Arrest LGBT Acitvists (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Hate Speech as Ugandan Minister Onek Vows to Kill NGO’s that Help Gays (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Celibate Ugandan Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo Attempts to Justify Gay Arrests (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton Pays Tribute to Ugandan Gay Rights Defenders (oblogdeeoblogda.me)