Lebanon’s Ban of Gay Dating App ‘Grindr’ Sets Dangerous Precedent

Published January 24th, 2019 - 12:29 GMT
(Rami Khoury/Al Bawaba)
(Rami Khoury/Al Bawaba)

Users of the gay dating app Grindr in Lebanon has been facing technical issues while trying to log into their accounts for the past week using the state-owned mobile data networks.

Though no official comment or statement was made on the issue, local activists confirmed the app was partially blocked by the state-owned data networks, though it still works through private internet providers.

Media reports also cited employees at the telecom ministry who confirmed there was a directive to block the app without identifying the request’s source.

The ban has raised concerns among human rights activists regarding freedoms and the Lebanese authorities’ continued efforts to block and control websites and apps in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Beirut-based internet freedoms group, Social Media Exchange (SMEX) addressed the issue and launched an online campaign under the hashtag #GrindrLebBan.

The organization has also cited the Ministry of Telecommunications response to their questions, as they confirmed the ban without providing any reasons.

They raised calls to the Prime Minister, Saad Hariri and other officials in the country to reverse the ban as it represents a violation of freedoms and the LGBT+ community rights.

Many activists joined the campaign and raised their voices in support with freedoms.

On their turn, Amnesty International also voiced the opposition to the Lebanese government’s ban and demanded a clarification on the reasons behind it.

Translation: “Regarding Grinder’s ban in Lebanon, Amnesty International- along with other organizations, calls on the Lebanese authorities to clarify their position, to take clear, transparent and lawful procedures and to repeal the ban decision.”

Some activists also voiced their objection to the ban, as it requires an official court order and an official disclosure on the telecom company, which did not happen.

Despite the campaigns on social media, Lebanese activists are still condemning the public and the government’s negligence in taking immediate actions regarding censoring such apps.

On top of this, concerns about the ban come at a time when more restrictions are being imposed on the LGBT+ in Lebanon. Despite the fact that Lebanon is considered one of the most liberal countries in the region, but still, the LGBT+ community is facing social restrictions.

© 2000 - 2019 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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