The calls for censorship continue to ramp up, this time with the Iraqi government looking to get PUBG Corporation’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds banned in the region. This comes shortly after Nepal permanently banned the game in the region, which followed in the footsteps of Indian municipalities that also banned the game in several regions.
According to The National, the cultural parliamentary committee submitted a draft on April 13th, 2019 suggesting to ban PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The draft proposal would have to go through a draft review by parliamentary speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi.
The article cites moral panic from media outlets blaming video games for a number of issues, including suicides and divorce rates, writing…
“Iraqi media reported incidents of suicide and divorce related to the games during the last year. In depth reporting by local media on the craze has announced it has led to nearly 40,000 divorces worldwide and more than 20 cases in Iraq.”
The proposal would not only ban PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the region, but also the suicide game “Blue Whale”, which has been a problem for some regions for quite some time, and was the subject of investigation and calls for bans from some Saudis.
According to the Telegraph, certain Iraqi officials are saying the game is brainwashing the youth, advocating for the ban via social media such as Twitter, with populist cleric Muqtada Al Sadr, saying…
“It saddens me to see our youth are brainwashed by PUBG. Iraq’s society is deteriorating as its youth are occupied by the fighting in PUBG’s battlefields,”
This was also combined with the head of the culture committee, Sameaa Gullab, who also mentioned during a press release that…
“The committee is concerned about the obsession over these electronic games that ignite violence among children and youth. Its influence has spread rapidly among Iraq’s society. We are proposing to parliament to block and ban all games that threaten social security, morality, education and all segments of Iraqi society,”
Ironically, all of this has come to a head after statements were made back in January of 2019 by Iraqi parliament who mentioned that the rumors about wanting to ban PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was false, as reported by Bas News. Yet it looks like that’s no longer the case.
The National had quotes from Iraqi gamers, who mentioned that playing the game kept them out of trouble and allowed to do something other than engage in real-life petty crimes or violence.
Hassan Ahmed Ali, a 21-year-old gamer, told The National…
“I have been playing PUBG for sometime now, I like it because it keeps me at home and away from trouble outside”
This is true.
There have been multiple studies showing that the increase and spread of video games in various regions with high youth crimes have shown a steady decrease in real-life crimes with the advent of gaming. Correlation doesn’t assume causation, but when some youth are actively saying that they would rather play video games than fight in real-life, one has to wonder if the government is actually banning the game not to help society but to hinder it by keeping it in turmoil and violence.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)