Media's Influence on LGBTQ Support Across Africa


Political leaders across Africa frequently accuse the media of promoting homosexuality while activists often use the media to promote pro-LGBTQ narratives. Despite extensive research on how media affects public opinion, including studies that show how exposure to certain information can increase support of LGBTQs, there is virtually no research on how media influences attitudes towards LGBTQs across Africa. I develop a theory that accounts for actors’ mixed-approach to the media and show how different types of media create distinct effects on public opinion of LGBTQs. Specifically, I find that radio and television have no, or a negative, significant effect on pro-gay attitudes, whereas individuals who consume more newspapers, internet or social media are significantly more likely to support LGBTQs (by approximately 2 to 4 per cent). I argue that these differential effects are conditional on censorship of queer representation from certain mediums. My analysis confirms that the results are not driven by selection effects, and that the relationship is unique to LGBTQ support but not other social attitudes. The results have important implications, especially given the growing politicization of same-sex relations and changing media consumption habits across Africa.

British Journal of Political Science