Almost two years ago or so, a law that regulates internet use in Lebanon was proposed. It was – for the lack of a better word – “sloppy” and vague but none the less allowed the Lebanese government to pursue what people publish and express online. The civil society rose in an uproar and the law didn’t pass the Parliament and was killed in its cradle.
Regrettably, another similar law was recently proposed by the new Lebanese Minister of Information Walid al-Daouq. The law prohibits the publication of “anything that offends public morals or ethics”. With such a vague directives, the Lebanese government can trace and prosecute anything that runs contrary to socio-normative standards, which is technically most of what is taken up on the internet since it is the only place that we can express ourselves freely. For a better review about the law, refer to Khodor Salameh’s cover on the issue.
What does this mean for the LGBTIQ movement?! everything probably. We have gone too far in establishing a platform for free expression online after our voices have been suffocated by a socially homophobic sectarian and political silencing. Now this scarce freedom of expression is under attack by a law that will enable the government to sue such an online presence that are deemed “immoral to social norm” (whatever that means). Last time this happened, we all mobilized against it and took it down. We’ll defend our freedom of expression again and defeat this one as well. Stay tuned and spread the word, this must not pass silently.