In a controversial move, Iraq’s official media regulator, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC), has issued an order to all media and social media entities operating within the country to replace the term “homosexuality” with “sexual deviance”, as revealed by a government spokesperson and an official document from the commission.
The document further stated a ban on the usage of the term “gender”. This directive also extends to phone and internet companies licensed by the CMC, prohibiting them from incorporating these terms in any mobile applications they offer.
While the decision is still awaiting final approval, the directive specifically instructs media entities to refrain from using the term ‘homosexuality’, urging them to adopt the term ‘sexual deviance’ instead, as mentioned in the Arabic-language statement.
The government is yet to determine the penalties for breaching this new regulation. However, indications suggest that offenders might face monetary fines.
Though gay sex is not explicitly illegal in Iraq, the nation’s ambiguous morality clauses present in its penal code have historically been employed to persecute members of the LGBT community.
Recent months have seen a surge in criticism against LGBT rights by major Iraqi parties. This follows episodes in Sweden and Denmark where Koran burnings took place, prompting Shi’ite Muslim factions in Iraq to retaliate by burning rainbow flags during protests.
Globally, the legality of gay relationships remains diverse. More than 60 countries still deem gay sex illegal, in contrast to over 130 countries where same-sex acts are recognised as legal, as per data from Our World in Data.
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