Fortnite And PUBG Banned In Iraq

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Iraqi gamers no longer have access to two of the biggest battle royale games.
Iraqi gamers no longer have access to two of the biggest battle royale games. Bluehole, Inc.

Iraqi gamers need to say their goodbyes to Bluehole’s Player Unknown Battlegrounds and Epic Games’ Fortnite because both have been officially banned after the vote made by the parliament last Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the ban was said to be “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.”

Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a member of parliament, was the one who called for the ban that will prevent the people from both playing the games and making transactions related to them. Sadr asked, “What will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG?” He continued by stating that the game PUBG “is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight.”

The ban reportedly comes from the "negative effects" games can bring to health.
The ban reportedly comes from the "negative effects" games can bring to health. Epic Games

Last Saturday, Sami’a Ghulab, senior member of parliament, said “The Committee on Culture, Information, Tourism, and Archeology views with great concern the spread of the phenomenon of electronic games that is causing violence among children, and young boys and girls.”

Ghulab claimed that the games are “affecting the social, psychological and educational level of everyone who practices it.” She also had a message for the authorities telling them to “end this negative phenomenon through the issuance of legislation to prevent the circulation of these games.”

On November 2018, it was reported that a young man accidentally killed his friend with a shotgun in what was said to be some sort of PUBG roleplay.

PUBG has been criticized by many, with most of complaints coming from parents blaming the game for heightened aggression in young people. However, the link between online games and the behavior of children has yet to be proven, as there are conflicting conclusions with evidence pointing one way or the other.

On the other hand, a majority of the people were quick to express their discontent through social media saying that the lawmakers are having trouble setting their priorities straight. The parliament has passed only one law, the federal budget law, since it was assembled last year.

Iraq is not the only country banning games because of violence. Nepal has also banned PUBG. Along with them, some Asian countries are beginning to criticize and take actual legal actions towards some games labeled as violent. My guess is that this won’t be the end of it. While the culture of ‘hypersensitivity’ grows more prevalent, a lot of things will be seen as “unacceptable”. Will other countries be following the footsteps of Iraq? Let’s hope, for the sake of the future of video games, that this trend doesn’t continue.

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