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Rights group slams Egypt’s media blackout on homosexuals

The Egyptian anti-gay crackdown was triggered by the raising of the rainbow flag [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 October, 2017

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An international rights group has slammed an Egyptian media regulatory body’s order prohibiting homosexuals or their slogans from appearing on any outlet amid a mass arrest campaign against them
An international rights group has slammed an Egyptian media regulatory body’s order prohibiting homosexuals or their slogans from appearing on any outlet amid a mass arrest campaign against them and their supporters.

Friday’s statement by Human Rights Watch criticised the ban on reporting on homosexuals unless they acknowledge their “wrong conduct and repent for it.” It also stressed the importance of giving LGBT people a voice.

The decision by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation comes after the waving of the LGBT rainbow flag at a Cairo concert last month.

Dozens have been arrested and some were subjected to anal examinations, seen as a form of torture by rights bodies.

Homosexuality, highly taboo in Egypt, is not explicitly prohibited by law but authorities prosecute individuals under charges as “debauchery.”.

The crackdown was triggered by a recent concert during which fans of Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay, displayed the LGBT rainbow flag.

Popular Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila spoke out on Monday against the crackdown.

The band, whose lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay, said they were "heartbroken."

"We cannot begin to explain how saddened we are to see yet another era of backwards tyranny creep over one of our most beloved countries and audiences," the band said in a statement posted on its social media accounts late on Monday.

"It is sickening to think that all this hysteria has been generated over a couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love."

Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but is highly taboo in the country among Muslims and minority Christians alike.

Egypt's conservative musicians syndicate has said Mashrou' Leila would not be authorised to perform again in the country.

The group has previously been banned from performing in the Jordanian capital Amman.

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