In the latest crackdown on gay rights in Indonesia, the government has demanded all instant messaging apps remove same-sex emoticons or face a ban in the Muslim-majority country.
The emojis — which are available on the popular apps LINE and Whatsapp as well as Facebook and Twitter — depict same-sex couples holding hands and the rainbow flag, commonly used to symbolise the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“Such contents are not allowed in Indonesia based on our cultural law and the religious norms and the operators must respect that,” Ismail Cawidu, spokesman for the Communication and Information Ministry, told AFP Friday.
He said of particular concern was that the colourful emojis and stickers could appeal to children.
“Those things might be considered normal in some Western countries, while in Indonesia it’s practically impossible,” he said.
Cawidu said the ministry had contacted all companies that used such content, including Twitter and Facebook, and failure to comply with the request to remove the emojis could lead to the apps being banned in Indonesia. Read more