CNN found itself on the receiving end of “community note” on X after the network published a slanted report about two Ugandan men charged with “aggravated homosexuality.”
CNN’s post said, “Two men in Uganda are facing separate charges of ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ an offense punishable by death under the country’s controversial new anti-gay laws.”
The CNN headline provided even less information on the story: “Two Ugandan men may face death penalty after ‘aggravated homosexuality’ charge.”
However, the moderators of X’s community notes agreed CNN had left out some key information on this story.
“One man is accused of having a sexual relation with a disabled man, the other of a sexual act with a 12-year-old child,” the added community note explained.
“Both are charged with ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ defined as same-sex relations with someone who is HIV-positive, a child, an elderly person or disabled.”
Whether or not CNN saw the “death penalty” aspect of the “controversial” new law as the key point of the story, readers felt that the crimes committed by the men were vital in giving the correct context.
One of the men is accused of performing “unlawful sexual intercourse with one [man] aged 41 with a disability,” a spokeswoman for the office of the Director of Prosecutions cited by CNN said.
The other man is accused of “a sexual act with a child aged 12 of the same sex,” the same spokeswoman told CNN.
But this significant fact only appeared more than halfway through CNN’s article.
In May, the new law prohibited same-sex marriage and sexual acts, but an attorney representing one of the accused claimed the law violated Uganda’s constitution.
“Of course, the fact that the law is being enforced in this way is entirely unconstitutional because it seeks to criminalize what is often consensual conduct between adults,” CNN quoted her.
CNN failed to quote anyone with a different opinion, stating only: “The bill enjoys substantial support from lawmakers, Christian and Muslim leaders in Uganda, and some social media commentators.”
X users agreed with the community note more than the original post from CNN.