Plans to show Ugandans a widely watched YouTube video about Joseph Kony and the atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army have been scrapped, after an audience at the first screening was upset by the film’s content.
The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) had announced plans to show the Kony 2012 video to people living in remote communities across northern Uganda throughout the month of March.
The half-hour video was produced by the advocacy group Invisible Children and has been downloaded tens of millions of times since its release earlier this month. It calls for the arrest of Kony, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, but is not in custody.
AYINET director Victor Ochen said that many people in northern Uganda had only heard about the video through secondary sources, which is why his organization wanted to give people the chance to see it themselves.
But the organization is now pulling the plug on its plan to do so, after a crowd in Lira became upset with what they were seeing.
“There was a strong sense from the audience that the video was insensitive to African and Ugandan audiences, and that it did not accurately portray the conflict or the victims,” Ochen said in a statement, following the screening.
"In particular, viewers were outraged by the KONY 2012 campaign's strategy to make Kony famous and their marketing of items with his image."
According to reports from The Globe and Mail and the BBC, some members of the crowd started throwing stones and many people cleared out before the film had finished.
Ochen said his organization will suspend further screenings of Kony 2012, based on the audience reaction in Lira.