GEM advises media to regard statements by GLA with skepticism

July 07, 2006

JOHANNESBURG — Gays for Equitable Media (GEM), a newly formed lesbian and gay South African media advocacy group, advises journalists and editors to regard statements issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLA) with suspicion.

The GLA, while proclaiming to be the voice of South Africa�s gays and lesbians is a wholly discredited organisation that has no proven support or membership within the gay and lesbian community.

Most, if not all, recognised national and regional gay community organisations and media have repeatedly distanced themselves from the GLA and rejected its stance on a vast array of issues.

While the GLA has the right to make comment on any matter it sees fit, the media is asked to avoid publishing, without question, its claim of representing gays and lesbians.

Earlier this year, the GLA�s assertion that it had directed 300 members, some of them HIV positive, to donate blood in protest against the South African National Blood Service�s policy of excluding gay donors was exposed as a hoax.

A number of media outlets were widely criticised for publishing the GLA�s claims without investigation. The Press Ombudsman officially reprimanded the Saturday Star newspaper for contravening the press code in the matter.

We urge journalists to thoroughly investigate all claims made by the GLA, including its self-declared legitimacy, when considering publishing its statements.

About GEM:

GEM was formed to raise awareness, within the broad South African media, about the representation of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) people. It is being registered as a Section 21 not-for-profit company with a volunteer board of media professionals. GEM�s role includes: media monitoring and sensitivity awareness; lobbying for equitable representation of gay issues in the media; and advocacy of gay issues through the media.
For futher information contact Luiz DeBarros or phone +27 (0)83 653 7577 – Issued by Gays for Equitable Media

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