Official: Iraq ends weeks-long social media ban
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Communications says the Iraqi government has lifted the internet and social media ban.
“The Iraqi Communication and Media Commission informed us today that they have lifted the ban on social media,” Omed Mohammed, a spokesperson for the KRG’s Ministry of Communications, told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday.
Due to the events in the past week in central and southern Iraq, the Iraqi National Security Council decided to ban social media and internet, the Kurdish official explained.
According to Mohammed, the Iraqi government decided to end the social media blockage as the general situation has calmed down and protests are fading away.
He added that the KRG had informed internet companies about the decision and the ban was lifted in the Kurdistan Region accordingly.
The people of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq use various social media networks to connect and communicate with each other and others abroad. The most common are Facebook, Instagram, Viber, and WhatsApp. Some people choose less monitored apps such as Telegram and IMO.
During his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the freedom in Iraq, claiming that “there is tremendous freedom regarding the use of internet in the country which cannot be found in most democratic countries in the world.”
Since July 14, authorities have limited internet access and blocked some social media outlets across much of central and southern Iraq.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on Tuesday calling on Iraqi authorities to “lift all internet restrictions except where specific security concerns require such a response.”
The HRW report added that blocking internet access to people in southern Iraq not only denies them their right to exchange information but can put people in danger.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany