The emergency measures implemented by the Iraqi government are not only liberticide, but may also prove counterproductive in the long run.
- Allowing free speech is necessary not only to counter jihadi propaganda and provide independent viewpoints to local and international audiences, but it also opens channels of communication which the government should seize to grow trust and inform its concerned citizens;
- Freedom of online assembly enables ordinary citizens to support the fragile state institutions and organise civilian efforts, aid and funding campaigns indispensable to manage the impending humanitarian catastrophe - especially the staggering number of internally displaced people in the provinces that have now been denied Internet access;
- Guaranteeing unfettered connectivity to its citizens is a sign of good governance. By attempting to ban access to cyberspace - ban which has been implemented by some, but not all ISPs and mobile operators - the Al Maliki administration may unwittingly be showcasing its lack of coherence and control thereby forfeiting - in the name of the Iraqi people - the war being waged in the information sphere.
The International Covenant on Civil and political rights, which Iraq signed and ratified, proclaims "the right to freedom of expression", which includes "freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media". According to this treaty, which is enshrined by article 40 of the Iraqi Constitution, freedom of expression can only be restricted by the law and when necessary.
Being able to communicate without hindrance is vital for citizens, even more so in zones of armed conflict. Internet shutdowns ordered by spooked governments - whether partial or total - may become a worrying trend in warfare. In May 2013, for example, days after suffering an airstrike in the Damascus outskirts, the Assad regime shut down the Syrian Internet for 19 hours.
The Iraqi government’s order to block Internet as well as popular social networks and mobile data appears disproportionate and misguided.
The internet should never be blocked any where in the world. Every person should have access to an open, free Internet. It is the most efficient means of communication. Iraq in crisis should be able to use the internet as a means to communicate it's situation with other regions of the world.
While it is true that these groups can use social media to help them in the wrong ways, it is important to maintain a free internet so that those who against them can spread their word and tell the rest of the world what is going on in their country. The press too easily skew stories to their bias, it's important in times of war that this isn't allowed to avoid the groups from using the news to destabilise the government.
Given the poor quality of media from major sources I believe the Internet should be open in Iraq (or any other country) during their time of crisis. It is time for the major populations of the world to understand what war is and how it affects people in the best way possible.
Yes, the internet should be open in Iraq during the ongoing crisis there, because it is important that people have information. Government censorship is never the answer, because it is oppression. It is true that it might spread the word on demonstrations, like it did in the Egyptian Revolution, but it is still too important to shut down.