Red Pepper is a daily tabloid newspaper in Uganda which began publication June 19, 2001. Deliberately mirroring the style of tabloids in other countries, the paper is known for its mix of sensationalism, scandal, and frequent nudity. The paper has roused the ire of the Ugandan government for revealing that former foreign minister James Wapakhabulo died of AIDS, and publishing conspiracy theories relating to the death of Sudanese vice-president John Garang in a helicopter crash.
In August 2006, Red Pepper published the first names and occupations of prominent Ugandan men whom it asserted were gay. This decision was sharply criticized by the campaigning group Human Rights Watch, which said that the move could expose the men to harassment by the government, as homosexuality in Uganda remains illegal. The following month, it published a similar list of 13 women whom it claimed were lesbians. In an interview published in May 2009, the news editor of Red Pepper, Ben Byarabaha, vowed that the tabloid would continue its campaign against alleged homosexuals by publishing their names, photographs and addresses.
In September 2012, the newspaper received a lawsuit about a published nude photo of a herbalist.
2013 police raid
The premises of Red Pepper were raided by Uganda Police on May 20, 2013. This happened soon after the paper had published a letter allegedly written by army General David Sejusa, threatening that those opposing Muhoozi Kainerugaba for presidency risk their lives. Kainerugaba is son of the long-standing president Yoweri Museveni, who is set to step down in 2016. The same letter was also published by another Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor, whose offices were also raided.
As of May 25, 2013, the police still occupy offices of Red Pepper (as well as Daily Monitor), preventing the paper from being published. However, Red Pepper has been able to print and sell black market copies, and its website is online and updated despite the ongoing raid.