Iraqi media regulator orders ban on term ‘homosexuality’

Iraq’s media regulator has instructed media organisations and social media companies to use the accurate term ‘sexual deviance’ instead of ‘homosexuality’ in the country.

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According to an Iraqi government spokeswoman, on 8 August, The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) of Iraq instructed every media organisation and social media company operating in the country to use the accurate word sexual deviance rather than homosexuality. The government official also indicated that the decision is still subject to final approval and that the punishment for breaking this regulation has not yet been set precisely.

Iraq’s official media regulator also prohibits using the term ‘gender’ in mobile applications, including mobile phones and internet corporations.

Although homosexuality is not criminalised in Iraq, imbalanced morality laws target members of the LGBTQ+ community. The main political parties in Iraq have denounced LGBTQ+ rights, and rainbow flags have been raised in protest of recent Koran burnings in Sweden and Denmark.

Why does it matter?

The directive issued by Iraq’s Official Media Regulator is crucial because it reflects a concerning trend of government-sanctioned discrimination and marginalisation against the LGBTQ+ community. By instructing media organisations to use the term ‘sexual deviance’ instead of ‘homosexuality’, the government is perpetuating negative stereotypes and stigmatisation. This directive has broader implications for freedom of expression, as it limits open discussions about sexual orientation and reinforces societal prejudice. Addressing this directive is crucial to promoting inclusivity and human rights and combating the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Iraq.