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Skype ban angers Lebanese

Moves to make popular internet calling tool illegal spark uproar.

June 16, 2010 3:32 by

People in Lebanon have reacted angrily to plans to ban Skype and othe Internet voice communications systems, reports the National.

The Lebanese parliament is expected to vote some time in this week on legislation that will make voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems illegal, says the report. The move is set to anger many in the country; there are a high number of expats in the country, not to mention nationals who have families overseas. In addition, Lebanon has some of the highest mobile phone charges in the world.

The report says that for the business community, and those trying to communicate with the millions of Lebanese living in foreign countries, the ban will wipe out an essential form of communication.

Sophisticated VoIP boxes that allowed users to connect actual mobile phones started going dead on June 1 after the telecommunications ministry began blocking some services under orders from the newly appointed telecoms minister Charbel Nahhas, says the National.

“But it was not until this week that people realised there was a campaign under way against Skype itself. Now Mr Nahhas faces criticism from all corners of a Lebanese society, including his own political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which has begun posting photos of the minister emblazoned with the slogan ‘Together towards the Stone Age’ under his visage on FPM bulletin boards.”

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  1. Sam Younes on June 17, 2010 7:03 am

    It’s a shame but what do you expect from a government which is tainted with corruption and politicians who only look at their own interests and how much they can profit from their positions instead of serving the people.

    Let’s see who would benefit the most from this ban, which minister or ministers, for sure it will not be normal citizens as they will be much higher rates for their communications.

    whatever the minister’s name is should be forced to resign and banned from politics for life.

  2. Jean Carlo Tayar on June 17, 2010 7:55 am

    VOIP is not a crime, blocking the telecommunication right is a crime. I belive the Lebanese government need to be smarter in finding better ways of generating profit than Gas, electricity water and telecommunication since these are the minimum services expected by a normal citizen in Lebanon.
    time to wake up …………………

  3. Ali Braybekh on June 17, 2010 8:41 am

    The telecommunication sector in Lebanon is suffering from high prices to low quality of services. It is not enough that two companies are monopolizing this sector the government represented by Mr. Nahass is joining them to make the Lebanese pain harsher. Several months ago Mr. Bassil was the minister of telecommunication. He tried to reduce the price, instead he reduced the quality. This is what is called fixing and changing. Instead of banning certain internet sites which is deteriorating the Lebanese morals they banned some of the available and the only remaining cheap media which can bring families and their members together. Good luck your Excellency with your constructive steps toward pre-history age ( no water, no electricity and finally no communication)

  4. Gilbert Turk on June 23, 2010 12:42 am

    What is happening in Lebanon is unreal. The whole world is embrassing the new technologies and adapting to this Global economy and in Lebanon, we are going in the opposite direction. We need to make reforms starting with the administration, which is overstaffed, and corrupted, and start privatizing the phone and electricity and start collecting unpaid bills, instead of going after Skype and other voice IP sytems, to allow families to stay connected.


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