Tunisia: 'Blue whale' game banned

Five suicide cases, court blocks Arab version 'Mariam'

08 March, 12:45

    TUNIS - A court of first instance in Sousse, Tunisia, has ruled to block the download and access in Tunisia of online game ''Mariam'', the Arabic version of ''Blue whale''.

    The ruling followed a lawsuit presented by an association representing parents, in cooperation with the regional authority for the protection of the child.

    With the provisional, urgent measure the court ordered the Agence Tunisienne d'Internet (Ati) to respect the ruling in a first in Tunisia in the fight against dangerous videogames for children and teens.

    The Arab Weekly reports that the game made hundreds of victims worldwide in 2016: participants follow a number of rules for 50 days and then have to commit suicide on the last day.

    Although the game was already reported as dangerous in Tunisia last December by the national agency for online security (Ansi), local media spoke about at least five suicides of teens that are linked to the ''Blue whale challenge'', including a suicide last Sunday in Tataouine. Local media reported a number of cases of attempted suicides and that a number of teens were treated in hospital after they played the videogame.

    At least four suicides were reported in Algeria, according to The Arab Weekly. 

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