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Baghdad lifts ban imposed on social media amid protests: Ministry

2018-07-25

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SULAIMANI – The Iraqi government on Wednesday (July 25) lifted a ban on social media which had been previously imposed amid unrest during protests across the country.

The spokesman for Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Transportation, Umed Mohammed Salih, told NRT that “It has been one hour since the ban has been lifted.”

He said the decision was made in cooperation with the Iraqi government and that everyone can have access to the internet and social media.

Earlier this month, a member of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce said that Iraqi trade has been damaged by $1 million USD in one day because of internet cuts in response to protests in southern cities and provinces.

Banning online access to curb growing protests cost the country a million of dollars per day, Zyad Kaabi said.

He said the disruption of internet service has not reduced unrest in the country.

Demonstrations against shortage of jobs, electricity, water, and basic services erupted in Iraq’s southern cities last week, starting in Basra.

Internet was cut off in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, after the protests started. Officials said internet service was suspended due to a disruption in the main lines, while people have rejected the claim saying it was cut off due to fear of more protests.

The Shia heartland south has long been neglected despite its oil wealth, first by Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and then Shia-led governments after him, including Abadi’s.

(NRT)