The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports:
Things were tough enough for Nelly Munyasia, the executive director of Kenya’s Reproductive Health Network. Then came a surge of hateful propaganda targeting her and others working in reproductive health.
Munyasia says that as she saw her face appear on social media posts calling her a killer, she and her fellow targets were able to identify the strange driving force behind this sudden tide of hostility.
CitizenGO is an online community that claims to “promote life, family, and liberty.” It is also the main online outlet for an unlikely coalition of the U.S. Christian right, militant European Catholics, Russian orthodox hardliners and even sanctioned oligarchs, all working in a concerted campaign to undermine reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights around the world.
“CitizenGO led on petitions, especially on the organisations that worked on sexual and reproductive health,” Munyasia said. “They led petitions to [target] activists that supported the abortion agenda, that supported LGBTQ rights and comprehensive sexual health education.”
Even as relations between Russia and the global West grow ever-more sour, this unlikely alliance of religious rightwingers — from Moscow to Madrid to Washington D.C — is accused of mounting a campaign of massive misinformation and intimidation that amounts to “transnational opposition to reproductive rights across the globe.”
An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and evidence collected by the data science company Signify shows how the network mixed digital campaigns, political lobbying and protests on the ground to fight against reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights in Kenya and Ghana. It claimed victory when legislation to extend access to abortion in Kenya was blocked, and played a key role in pushing a bill in Ghana that would impose lengthy prison sentences for LGBTQ+ people. [Continue reading…]