Indonesia blocking Grindr and 80 gay websites in clampdown on ‘deviant propaganda’

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Indonesia has agreed to block dozens of gay websites and apps in a crackdown on so-called “gay propaganda”.

Homosexuality has never been illegal in the Islamic country, but attitudes towards LGBT people have become steadily more extreme in recent years despite a growing gay population.

This week it was announced that the country’s government will clamp down on gay culture, instituting a new ban on internet “gay propaganda”  after a request from the police.

Communications ministry spokesman Noor Iza confirmed to AFP that gay networking apps including Grindr, Blued and BoyAhoy would be blocked in the country, claiming they were “promoting gay lifestyles”.

Opponents of LGBT rights in the country claim the apps harbour an online paedophile ring – but advocates say they are using the issue as a Trojan horse to enforce homophobic censorship.

Iza said the country was “starting to block LGBT applications” that promote “sexual deviancy”.

While just a few have been identified, Buzzfeed reports that a total of more than 80 other apps and websites with LGBT content will face a ban in Indonesia, including LGBT news outlets.

As the list has not been made public, it is unclear whether PinkNews will remain available.

Yuli Rustinawati, chair of LGBT group Arus Pelangi said: “If gay applications are closed down, it only makes the community even more isolated as they won’t be able to find friends via the virtual world.

“It is quite strange to ban people from finding friends.”

If enforced, Indonesia would join countries including China and the United Arab Emirates, which attempt to censor gay content online.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country.