Fortnite and PUBG banned in Iraq

Following up on earlier promises of a ban against violent video games, the parliament of Iraq has banned both Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

As Thompson Reuters has reported, the parliament of Iraq has voted to ban both popular battle royale games. Proponents argued for the ban “due to the negative effects caused by some electronic games on the health, culture, and security of Iraqi society, including societal and moral threats to children and youth.”

The ban requires the government of Iraq to prevent people from playing the games. Additionally, the government must also prevent people from taking part in any financial transactions related to both games.

Member of parliament and Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for the ban and implored children to avoid playing PUBG. He stated that the game was addictive and was without benefit to their lives.

Al-Sadr, who leads the political alliance that won the most seats in the parliamentary elections held last year, asked,”what will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG?” He continued saying that PUBG “is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight.”

Prior to this, the parliament’s Committee on Culture, Information, Tourism, and Archaeology also expressed concerns about violent games in general. Committee chair Sami’a Ghulab stated that these games threatened the “social and moral peace” of the country. At least one incident of a shooting taking place because of PUBG has been reported in Iraq.

Iraq follows in the footsteps of Nepal which has banned PUBG over concerns on its addictive nature. Both bans raise a number of questions: Will other games, such as up and coming battle royale game Apex Legends, be banned in the future? Will the bans encourage other countries to enact similar legislation? Only time will tell.