Pride Month, internet shutdowns and the effect on LGBTIQ groups

June 30, 2022

June has long been synonymous with Pride Month – the moment to commemorate years of struggle for civil rights for the ongoing pursuit of equal justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

But how is this linked to internet shutdowns and online censorship. And how are internet rights connected with the rights of minorities?

Over the past five years social media websites, messaging apps and minority group websites have been commonly blocked during elections, protests and other sensitive political time periods. 

There are numerous examples where the above has occurred in African countries, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. This is nothing new even though the socio-economic and human rights implications are tremendous. 

What is even more alarming is the effect that these deliberate internet blocks and online censorship have had on minority groups such as the LGBTIQ+ communities.

According to OONI's report, between June 1, 2016 and July 31, 2020, this was the case in the following countries:

  • Iran: 75 unique LGBTIQ website blocks
  • UAE: 51 unique LGBTIQ website blocks
  • Russia: Blocking of LGBTIQ websites on 172 distinct AS networks
  • Indonesia: Blocking of LGBTIQ on 43 AS networks
  • Saudi Arabia: LGBTIQ url’s were blocked more than 75% of the time

Internet shutdowns affect all of us socially, politically, economically and directly violate human rights. Minority groups such as the LGTBIQ community are affected even more so, particularly in certain countries. 

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