Near total Internet shutdown in Iraq amidst massive anti-government protest

According to a news report, Iraqi government authorities have imposed a near-total shutdown of the Internet, the first of its kind in the country in response to a mass anti-government protests by thousands of Iraqi citizens. Protestors according to the report, cited rising unemployment, failing public services and corruption by government officials as some of the reasons that drove them to hit the streets.

The Internet shutdown response by the Iraqi authorities, according to the report, saw the blocking of social media websites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. This occurred a few hours after the wave of Nationwide protests which “were sparked in Tahrir Square, Bagdad and following a call on social media”.  Internet shutdowns which have been resorted to some governments lately as a means of muzzling citizens during civil unrests, has been condemned since they “restrict access to vital information and harm the fundamental right to freedom of expression”.