ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – After a majority vote on Wednesday, the Iraqi Parliament urged the federal government to ban PUBG, Fortnite, Blue Whale, and similar online video games in the country after claiming the games caused social and psychological issues to the public.
The vote came weeks after lawmakers tried to prepare a bill with a list of what they considered the most addictive online video games. The approved parliament bill said the games posed “negative effects on health, culture, and security.”
The bill explicitly named PUBG, Fortnite, Blue Whale, and similar games, stating they “threaten social, moral, educational security, and education on all parts of Iraqi society.” The bill also said the games have a negative impact on youth and students, specifically regarding their education.
The parliament officially requested the federal government to ban the online games in the country and called on it to direct the Ministry of Communications and the Media and Communications Commission to implement the decision.
“Almost all the lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament voted for the ban of the online games in the country,” Handren Doski, a Kurdish lawmaker, told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday following the vote.
The games continue to gain popularity worldwide as well as in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, with boys and young men the dominant players.
PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is an online multiplayer game where dozens of players compete for the top spot. Sessions often last for hours sometimes.
In October, an Islamic religious authority in the Kurdistan Region ruled it haram (forbidden) to play PUBG for over “a few minutes” per day, or if playing it impedes a participant’s daily responsibilities.
In late November, a young male accidentally killed one of his friends with a shotgun, in what was said to be a “roleplay” of PUBG.
Late last year, Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ali al-Sistani, advised the country’s people to be wary of becoming addicted to PUBG if it turned its players aggressive. A few days ago, another senior figure, Muqtada al-Sadr, called on the youth to stay away from the game, claiming there were no intellectual or community aspects to it.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany