A hot potato: The last couple of months have seen PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds banned in several countries. Now, Iraq has become the latest nation to ban the last-man-standing game along with its rival, Fortnite.
On Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament voted to ban both online titles—a result of their alleged “negative” influence on young people.
Reuters writes that the ban came “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.”
Last month saw PUBG banned in the Indian state of Gujarat. A few days after it came into effect, ten college students were arrested for breaking this law.
Nepal followed suit last week, officially banning PUBG to stop addiction and prevent violence among the nation's youth. Playing the game in the country is now a punishable offense. Neither Nepal nor Gujarat have banned Fortnite.
Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, one of the most influential religious and popular figures in the country, had called for the government to ban Battlegrounds. “What will you gain if you killed one or two people in PUBG? It is not a game for intelligence or a military game that provides you with the correct way to fight,” he wrote.
The ban has incurred the anger of many Iraqi citizens. In a country suffering from rampant unemployment, corruption, and many other social and economic problems, banning a couple of video games seems like a case of misplaced priorities, especially as parliament has passed only one piece of legislation since September 2018—a 2019 federal budget law issued in January.