Lebanon: Activists slam Lebanon telecoms ministry after it bans Grindr app

Lebanon's Telecommunications Ministry has banned queer dating app Grindr in a memo distributed to the country's internet service providers (ISPs).

The memo - signed by the ministry’s director-general for investment and maintenance, Bassel al-Ayoubi - orders ISPs to block access to Grindr's website and an associated IP address – effectively blocking the use of the app as well as the web platform.

Dated 24 May, the memo cites an order from the public prosecutor’s office.

Users of the service had reported over the weekend that Grindr was blocked on the network of state-run telecoms company Ogero.

Digital rights group Smex said it tested the app on Monday and found it was blocked by Ogero but not by some other ISPs.

Should the ban be fully implemented, it would affect all ISPs and consequently all Grindr users in the country.

Article 534 of Lebanon's penal code bans "unnatural" sexual acts and the law is often used to prosecute lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals.

But in recent years, some Lebanese judges have ruled that Article 534 was not applicable in several cases involving transgender individuals and/or consensual same-sex acts.

While encouraging for LGBTQ activists, these rulings have been largely dependent on individual judge's interpretation of the law, as the Lebanese legal system is not based on precedents. Read more via Middle East Eye