Iraq’s New Censorship Laws

Iraqis have enjoyed uncensored material—scandalous Egyptian soap operas, romance novels, and pornography—since the American invasion in Iraq in 2003. But now, the Iraqi government is imposing new censorship laws that will require Internet cafes to register with the government and publishers to censor content in new books. The laws grew out of Prime Minister al-Maliki’s attempt to censor sexual material coming into the country in May. Government officials say that uncensored material is corrupting the minds of the young and encouraging sectarian violence. According to Iraq’s cultural minister, “Our constitution respects freedom of thought and freedom of expression, but that should come with respect for society as a whole, and for moral behavior. It is not easy to balance security and democracy. It is like being a tightrope walker.”