VICE News has teamed up with Jigsaw (Alphabets’s tech incubator, formerly Google Ideas) to create Blackout, a new series that investigates the state of free expression in the world. The first episode, “Blackout: Pakistan,” takes viewers to a country where homosexuality is illegal and carries a jail sentence of two to 10 years.
“One of the major roadblocks towards LGBT rights and protections within Pakistan is the religious establishment,” explains VICE News.
Gay people not only face potential incarceration for their identities, but they are frequently confronted by violence, and too often, murder. Though hookup apps like Grindr and Scruff offer a certain level of anonymity, recently a 20-year-old man was arrested for luring other men off of a secret gay Facebook group, and, after going on a date and having sex, strangling them to death. He claimed he was trying to stop the spread of evil.
“The murderer did have profiles on several different gay networking websites,” explains a Pakistani man. Now the gay community is approaching technology with caution. “We [are] encouraging people not to meet anonymous people.”
The episode will further unravel the underground LGBT scene in Pakistan and how queer people are navigating the country’s censorship and homophobia.