Iraq Media Regulatory Body Enforces Language Shift on LGBTQ+ Issues

In a significant development, the media regulatory authority of Iraq has issued a directive that alters the language used to discuss LGBTQ+ topics, imposing a shift away from the term ‘homosexuality’. Instead, the term ‘sexual deviance’ is to be employed in all media and social media communications, according to the guidelines set forth by the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC).

This directive applies universally to all media and social media establishments operating within the country, a stipulation that directly affects licensed CMC phone and internet companies. Consequently, these entities are now prohibited from incorporating the terms “homosexuality” or “gender” in any context within their mobile applications.

Recent times have seen Iraq’s legal system exploit loosely defined moral clauses within the penal code to specifically target LGBTQ+ individuals. Over the past months, several prominent Iraqi factions have intensified their opposition to LGBTQ+ rights, often symbolized by the public burning of rainbow flags. These protests, predominantly led by Shiite Muslim groups, reflect their disapproval of recent incidents involving the burning of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark.

LGBTQ+ individuals continue to encounter extensive discrimination in Iraq. Open expressions of homosexuality result in bans from military service, and both same-sex marriages and civil unions remain illegal. Shockingly, these individuals lack adequate legal safeguards against discrimination, rendering them vulnerable to extrajudicial actions and honor killings.

While Iraq’s legal framework does not explicitly criminalize gay sex, the nation’s historical anti-LGBTQ+ stance dates back to its declaration of independence, during which homosexuality was formally prohibited. This directive aligns with the broader global context, where over 60 countries classify gay sex as a criminal offense. Conversely, more than 130 nations have decriminalized same-sex sexual acts.

The Prime Minister of Iraq, Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani, remains central to the nation’s governance amid these evolving dynamics.