KRG rejects call from Baghdad to suspend internet: ministry statement

A protester stands during clashes between protesters and riot police in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central Tahrir Square on Oct. 3, 2019. (Ahmad Al-rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)

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SULAIMANI — The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Transportation and Communications said on Thursday (October) that it had rejected a call by the federal government to cut off the internet in the Kurdistan Region.

In response to deadly protests rocking Baghdad and several southern Iraqi cities, the federal government cut off access to the internet on Wednesday.

After a 28-hour block, internet access briefly returned for several hours overnight, but appears to have been cut off again, according to NGO Netblocks.

Access in the Kurdistan Region remained active. The Region’s network and connection to international communications infrastructure is separate from the one in southern and central Iraq.

A spokesperson for the ministry in Erbil said that the federal Ministry of Communications had called on them to suspend internet access and social networks.

“The [KRG] Ministry of Transportation and Communications is committed to the [KRG] Council of Ministers’ decision that the contracts of the internet services are taken by the Kurdistan Regional Government, not Baghdad,” the statement said.

(NRT Digital Media)