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Governement bill seen as opening way to online censorship

first_img Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts IraqMiddle East – North Africa News News Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about a new culture ministry bill that aims to ban certain websites as its scope is too vague and it needs to be more clearly defined. The bill is due to be examined by parliament shortly.“We are very worried about the abuses that will be possible under this bill as a result of vague and imprecise wording,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is legitimate to want to regulate the Internet sector but it would be unacceptable if this proposed law were to restrict freedom of information.”The government wants to step up control of website content and Internet cafés. “All websites that glorify terrorism and incite violence and sectarianism, or those that violate social morals with content such as pornography will be banned,” communications ministry spokesman Sameer Al-Hasoon was quoted as saying. Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” The Iraqi Journalistic Freedom Observatory said the bill would open the door to tighter control of political debate and issues that are regarded as sensitive by the government.The proposed law has been fiercely criticised, especially by free speech groups which see it as a first step towards political censorship and a threat to the democratic process in Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has also voiced concern that it violates articles 38 and 40 of the 2005 constitution. Internet café owners say the proposed controls could slow down the Internet and jeopardise online searches and chat forums.Meanwhile, there has been an increase in attacks on Internet cafés in recent months. Around 10 people were wounded in the bombing of an Internet café in the southwest Baghdad district of Saha on 16 July that was claimed a religious extremist group.Iraq has benefitted from favourable free speech legislation since Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in 2003. Several dozen Internet Service Providers have been established and hundreds of Internet cafés have been opened throughout the country. All this could be threatened by the new bill. December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” December 16, 2020 Find out more to go further News Follow the news on Iraq RSF_en Organisation Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan News August 10, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Governement bill seen as opening way to online censorship February 15, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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