Last Friday, the Lebanese population woke up to the Lebanese national anthem as the new ringing tone for both national mobile network operators, Touch and Alfa. It turned out that this was in celebration of Independence Day, and that everyone would be forced to listen to it for the following three days.

SMEX co-Founder, Mohamad Najem, tweeted with Alfa, which confirmed that the tone would indeed continue to be played mandatorily, until the end of the weekend.

This is not the first attempt that the two carriers have made to impose certain ringing tones, as they have several precedents, including their Rannat and Semme3ni “services”.

Both these companies being private profit-driven organizations that follow sectarian allocations, they imposed ringing tones that automatically incurred charges on our accounts. We have in fact addressed this topic previously, and succeeded in alleviating the issue and offering the option of unsubscribing from these services with no additional cost.

We are now faced with a new case. Effectively, this is an initiative by the carriers, which are both subsidiaries of the Lebanese government, i.e. the direct culprit is the Ministry of Communications.

Making users listen to this ringing tone without the ability of opting out is a violation of their rights. What the Ministry of Communications has done to celebrate the one day that stands for the army, organizations, citizens, and the nation itself, is nothing short of an infringement on the rights of citizens and cellular users. Thus, we urge the Ministry in question to ensure the option of unsubscribing from this service and all those like it, and to stop using these tricks to charge us for services we never even signed up for.

Please tweet, post and express your opinion about this service on the social media platforms of the Minister of Communications, Boutros Harb, in order to join us in demanding the right to opt out of services we do not want.

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