Screenshot of Blue Whale Challenge
CAIRO – 6 June 2018: All websites and platforms that allow access to suicide-encouraging games, like the Blue Whale, are banned in Egypt, representative of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority ( NTRA), Hossam Abdel Mawla ,told Egypt Today on Wednesday.
Although Abdel Mawla asserted that these websites and platforms are blocked, he said that this doesn't mean that the crisis of suicidal games is solved, as programmers may resort to means to circumvent the block, like proxy or VPN services. He also noted that many of those blocked websites have pages on social media through which they can reach teenagers.
Attorney General Nabil Sadek ordered in April the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to take the necessary measures to ban all websites and platforms that allow access to suicide-encouraging games, explaining that such games pose danger to the lives of young people.
The crisis does not end by banning the website; the country should focus more on spreading awareness and improving education, Khalid Sherif, board member of the NTRA, earlier asserted.
The ban came as a reply to demands calling for blocking the Blue Whale game after it allegedly claimed the life of many Egyptian youth. The case was triggered by the killing of the son of former Egyptian MP Hamdy al-Fakharany and others.
Known as the Blue Whale Challenge, the game requires players to go through 50 dangerous tasks over the course of 50 days. The tasks often begin with self-harm, leading up to the final challenge, which is suicide.
Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the Sunni Islamic institute concerned with fatwa (Islamic edict) issuance, has religiously forbidden playing the Blue Whale game, which pushes children to commit suicide.
In its fatwa, Dar al-Ifta clarified the reasons for banning this deadly game, mentioning that the player commits illegal actions.
“The users are asked to cut themselves with a sharp weapon such as a needle or a knife, and this act is religiously forbidden. The preservation of a person’s life is one of the most important purposes of Islam,” the fatwa read.
Egyptian writer Ghada Abdel Aal launched an alternative charitable game called the Green Whale, which requires players to go through daily charitable challenges, countering the effects of the horrifyingly dangerous game, the Blue Whale.
The game assigned 30 charitable acts to be completed before Ramadan, varying from helping a person to cross the street, to feeding animals, making children happy, raising funds to save a woman debtor from going to prison and visiting orphanages.
Blue Whale is a 50-task challenge and instructs its user to kill himself.
The game’s inventor, 22-year-old Philipp Budeikin, was sentenced in Russia to three years and four months in prison over charges of “inciting children to commit suicide” in July 2017, Moscow Times reported.