Iraqi parliament banned them citing their “negative” influence, especially on young people in a country
Iraq’s parliament on Wednesday voted to ban popular online video games, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, citing their “negative” influence, especially on young people in a country long plagued by bloodshed.
Iraq held its first election in 2018 after years of devastating factional violence. Daesh militants occupied large swathes of the country for three years until they were driven out in heavy fighting with US-backed forces in 2017.
Lawmakers, who were sworn in last September after months of contested results and ballot recounts, approved a resolution that mandated the government to ban online access to gambling and ban related financial transactions.
The ban came “because of the negative effects caused by certain electronic games on the health, culture and safety of Iraqi society, including societal and moral threats to children and young people,” the text of the statement reads. resolution.
The new ban quickly sparked discontent online with hundreds of Iraqi social media users criticizing lawmakers for what they called misplaced priorities. Parliament has adopted only one piece of legislation since it was first convened, the 2019 federal finance law, which was enacted in January.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), created by South Korean company Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed fighting game that drops dozens of online players on an island where they try to take out each other .
North Carolina-based Epic Games’ Fortnite with a similar premise is considered a game changer for the industry by analysts because it has signed up tens of millions of users for its latest “Battle Royale” format. .
Both were launched in 2017 and are hugely successful worldwide.
Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose political coalition has won the most seats in parliament, on Thursday urged young Iraqis to avoid PUBG, calling it addictive. Sadr called on the government to ban it.
“What will you gain if you kill one or two people in PUBG? It is not an intelligence game or a military game that provides you with the right way to fight,” he wrote in a two-man statement. pages.
Nepal and the Indian state of Gujarat in western India have also banned gambling after concerns about its impact on young people.