Indonesia struggles with LGBT emoji


    The Indonesian government has demanded that apps and social networks remove all emojis featuring lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, arguing that such images cause unrest in a country where the vast majority of the population professes Islam. Line's Japanese messaging app has already removed stickers from the regional version of its service and apologized to the government, Coconuts Jakarta reports . WhatsApp will also be asked to remove stickers that are provocative, according to the authorities.

    “We voluntarily deleted LGBT emojis, as we were aware that there were some problems due to the cultural characteristics of the country,” Line representatives told The Financial Times. The Indonesian government emphasized in a statement: “We have banned these images because they can cause disturbances in the community, especially among parents [...] The government cannot allow the use of LGBT images because they do not fit into our religious and cultural norms ".

    Indonesia is a secular state, but almost 90% of the 255 million people are Muslims and their religion has a great influence on the country's social and cultural life. Although Indonesia has no laws prohibiting homosexual relationships, some states have a tougher stance. So, for example, in October last year in the province of Banda Aceh, under the Sharia Laws, police arrested women who hugged in public.

    While Line was the first application that complied with government requirements (as of 2014, Indonesia is Line's second largest market), it can be more difficult for other companies, even if they are willing to abide by local “customs”. According to Quartz reportLGBT Emoji removed Line from their own app store. In other companies and social networks, LGBT topics are more integrated. Apple, for example, has emoticons depicting same-sex couples coming from device software out of the box.

    Via the verge

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