- Lebanese Ministry of Post and Telecommunications
From NOW Lebanon’s article, “Lebanon’s VoIP ban: enforcing the unenforceable”:
In an effort it says is specifically aimed at stopping illegal operations, the Ministry of Telecommunications is enforcing parts of a 2002 law that banned Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, like Skype and magicJack, angering many at-home users of these services in the process.
Illegal call centers cater mostly to Lebanon’s low-paid foreign workforce, and, according to a June 9 ministry press release, they cost the state $150 million each year in lost revenues. With a monopoly on the country’s telecom infrastructure, the state sets high call rates, making millions off the sector every year.
Lebanon is sticking with its decision against allowing the technology, even as more countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia lift their bans, said Riad Bahsoun, CEO of a local IT company and the vice chairman of the board of directors of the IT industry group SAMENA Telecommunications Council.
(For the full article, click http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=178890)
We write to you today as Lebanese who have enjoyed the benefits of communication via voice over IP (VoIP) technologies. Because of these free, accessible means of communication, we have managed to maintain the closest ties with our loved ones even when we––or they––were abroad.
Free video-to-video and voice communication technologies have revolutionized our world today. Besides the intercontinental business meetings that are now possible, the technology has allowed Lebanese expats, immigrants, and students abroad to maintain family ties and uphold family values. There are an infinite number of testimonials that we can recite, but we would like to keep this letter short. All the signatories to this petition have used Skype, Googletalk, MagicJack, or Vonage in their personal lives.
Perhaps there are benefits to be reaped from banning these networks, but there only short-term. Banning these networks will, in the long term, only be detrimental to our sense of belonging to our friends and families, and ultimately to our home country, Lebanon: we will communicate less, share less, and, gradually, lose touch.
As an open market, capitalist economy, there is enough influx of Western technology to endanger our customs and traditions. Let us not infringe upon the one technology that seeks to maintain rather than destroy our sense of Lebanese values.
For these reasons, we urge the Ministry of Communication to reconsider its decision to ban Skype and MagicJack. Let us not destroy the one tenet we can all agree forms the core of our Lebanese identity.
The Stop the Ban on Skype, MagicJack, and other VoIP technologies petition to Lebanese Ministry of Post and Telecommunications was written by Nour Kibbi and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.