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Judge orders Ugandan paper to stop publishing 'gay lists'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Second edition of the newspaper outing gays and lesbians carries an image of a man (identity blurred by CNN).
Second edition of the newspaper outing gays and lesbians carries an image of a man (identity blurred by CNN).
  • NEW: The tabloid editor denies that anyone has had to go into hiding because of the list
  • The injunction stops the paper from printing names and pictures of people it says are gay
  • A gay rights group says it shows the media cannot invade individuals' privacy
  • The tabloid's managing editor says he will keep speaking out against homosexuality

(CNN) -- A judge temporarily ordered a tabloid in Uganda to stop publishing lists identifying people it claims are gay after an advocacy organization filed a lawsuit.

The order came a day after Rolling Stone -- which has no relation to the iconic U.S. music magazine -- published a list of people it said were gay, urging readers to report them to police.

In the last edition, the newspaper promised to list 100 of what it called the country's top gays. The first edition listed several gays and lesbians, with photos and addresses alongside a yellow banner reading "hang them."

In the temporary injunction issued Monday, Justice Musoke Kibuuka ordered Rolling Stone from further publication of names or pictures of anyone "perceived by the respondents to be gay, lesbian, or homosexual in general."

Video: Uganda's secret gay blogger
Video: Editor on printing gays' names

The head of Sexual Minorities Uganda, which filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Rolling Stone, praised the judge's decision.

"This is a lesson. At least the law has shown some intelligence. It shows the media cannot invade other peoples' rights and violate other peoples' privacy," said Frank Mugisha, the organization's chairman.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for November 23, said Giles Muhame, the tabloid's managing editor.

"We will abide by the ruling and will not contest it. We were told we cannot publish any information that can lead to identification of homosexuals," he said. "Meantime, we shall continue condemning homosexuality, without publishing pictures."

Gay rights groups in Uganda have said at least four people have been attacked since the tabloid published its first list.

Muhame denied that anyone has had to go into hiding because of the list.

"That's not true. That's a concoction ... that they're being witch hunted," Muhame told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy. "No one is witch hunting them. If they are really hiding, they are hiding from their own thing they're doing. Their own mischief is witch hunting them."

A bill that would make homosexuality potentially punishable by death is working its way through Uganda's parliament.

While that's an extreme view to many, in Uganda even this sentiment holds some weight. Uganda is a mostly Christian country where local and international, particularly American, evangelicals hold great sway.

Just under two-thirds of Uganda's Christians favor making the Bible the law of the land, according to a huge study of religion in Africa by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Together with Ugandan politicians and preachers, they have lobbied for greater punishments for gays.

"We are very proud of what we have done," Muhame said in Tuesday's interview with CNN International.

CNN's Christabelle Fombu contributed to this report.