Reporters Without Borders raises concerns over cybercrime and freedom of expression bills resubmitted to Iraqi parliament

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) raised concerns over two old draft laws resubmitted to the Iraqi parliament, one dealing with cybercrime and the other with freedom of expression and the right to protest peacefully. According to RSF, the two bills were first submitted to the parliament in 2011, and then resubmitted in their original form every time a new parliament took office, ignoring previous debates and amendments.

The cybercrime draft law is seen as containing threats to journalists and freedom of the press. For instance, it imposes penalties ranging from a minimum fine of 10 million Iraqi dinars (more than €6,500) to prison terms of seven to ten years for anyone who uses the internet ‘with the intention to undermine religious, family or social values and principles’. The second draft law is criticised for containing ‘vague and ambiguous language that is open to interpretation and therefore to manipulation by the authorities’.