The statement that the audio-based social app club
was a licensing issue by the regulator, but critics feared that this might be an attempt to censor iOS app users.
The clubhouse was blocked on Sunday, preventing customers from accessing services in the country. When users try to find or create a new chat room (shared on Twitter) using the app, they encounter an error message.
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The Oman Telecom Regulatory Authority confirmed to Reuters that it was banned due to “lack of proper authorization”. The regulator said: “You must obtain permission from the authorities to process such communication requests.”
After the blockade, critics suggested that the ban violated the human rights of the country’s citizens.
The Oman Human Rights Association said: “The Omani government regards China’s dictatorship as an example.” The clubhouse is clearly targeted because it “Oman expresses its opinions freely without any government censorship.”
China blocked the club in February, which is believed to provide a channel for Chinese Internet users to communicate without worrying about censorship.
Omani writer Zakaria al-Muharram wrote that he hoped the suspension was “the result of a technical problem, not a formal ban”. “Preventing people from speaking and listening to others will not protect society, but will increase tensions and plunge them into chaos and conflict.”
This is the latest issue facing clubs and a good place for informal conversations with others. The app has quickly become a favorite among users in countries with more authoritarian regimes, where the government is trying to handle conversations between citizens.