Iraq demands media refer to 'homosexuality' as 'sexual deviance'

Iraq’s official media regulator stated on Tuesday that media and social media companies operating within the country should use the term “sexual deviance” instead of “homosexuality.”

The Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said that the use of the term “gender” was also banned, and has prohibited all phone and internet companies licensed by it from using such terms in any of their mobile applications, Reuters reported.

The commission noted that the regulator “directs media organizations … not to use the term ‘homosexuality’ and to use the correct term ‘sexual deviance.’“

However, a government official later said that the decision still required final approval. A government spokesperson said that the penalty for violating the rule could result in a fine.

While Iraq does not specifically criminalize homosexuality, its loosely defined morality clauses in its penal code have been used to target members of the LGBT community. 

Over the past two months, there have been major Iraqi political parties who have stepped up criticism of LGBT rights, with the Pride flag being burned in protests by Shi’ite Muslim groups opposed to recent Koran burnings in Sweden and Denmark.

The report noted that there are more than 60 countries that criminalize gay sex, while same-sex acts are legal in more than 130 countries.

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