Iraqi lawmakers are considering a draft law on information technology crimes that could be used to stifle free expression, Human Rights Watch said today.
Free speech is already under attack in Iraq, and on November 23, 2020 lawmakers discussed this draft law and planned to hold a second reading during the week of November 29. The bill includes vague provisions that will allow Iraqi authorities to harshly punish expression they decide constitutes a threat to governmental, social, or religious interests.
“This law would give Iraqi authorities yet another tool to suppress dissent over the main medium that journalists, activists, and the general public rely on for information and open debate,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If parliament passes the law, it will further undermine the already narrow field for free speech and stifle public discussion and debate online.”