Is There Internet Censorship in Iraq?

Countries Mar 16, 2021

Iraq is a state of the Arab world located in the Middle East. In 2021, the population of Iraq will increase by 1,356,521 and will be 42,438,321 at the end of the year. Despite such a large population, only 17% of residents have Internet access.

After Saddam Hussein's execution in 2006, who had ruled since 1979, a war against the occupation forces began in Iraq.

During the years of wars and devastation, Iraq was not up to the development of high technologies. Nowadays, the entire economy, which in the best years of Hussein's rule was far from "balanced and strong," is based on oil production.

The income level of the population is low, and the telecommunications infrastructure is underdeveloped. Nevertheless, the Internet is available in Iraq. The national top-level domain is .iq. The number of Internet users is less than 5 million people. And despite all the hardships, this is a huge step for the country because, under Hussein's rule, only the elite had access to the Internet: in 2000, there were about 12,500 Internet users in Iraq.

Today, the cost of ADSL/cable connection fluctuates in the range of $30-60, with a connection speed of 512 Kbps – 2 Mbps. There are also Internet cafes in large cities.

There is no clear evidence of the existence of Internet censorship, although this does not mean that it does not exist. Although there is no open Internet censorship in Iraq, the Iraqi government has repeatedly blocked some social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and Whatsapp, in order to stop the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) from propagating their terror campaign.

Also, Iraq had very unusual Internet censorship in schools. In May 2016, the Iraqi government decided to turn off the Internet throughout the country for three hours to ensure children do not cheat during school exams.