One Iraqi activist, Mazen al-Zaidi, wrote on his Facebook page that the civil movement forced the Iraqi parliament to reject the draft law pertaining to cybercrimes. He said that this bill violates the right of information exchange, as guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution.
Earlier, the Iraqi government had presented to parliament a draft law known as the Cybercrimes Act, which would levy heavy punishments on those who circulate information pertaining to national security.
The draft law addressed in particular Internet and cell-phone users. The government declared that, throughout the drafting process, it had referred to similar laws in some Arab countries, in addition to the US law in this regard.
After the parliament approved revoking the law, the head of the parliamentary Culture and Media Committee said, “The government presented the draft law in 2006, when the country was plagued by terrorism. Al-Qaeda misused the Internet to publish press releases, recruit terrorists and post tips on how to make bombs and IEDs. At the time, the law was a security necessity.”
President Benigno Aquino signed the law in September last year, amid huge online protests, to stamp out cybercrimes such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography. But opponents swiftly sued over provisions that authorise heavy prison terms for online libel and give the state powers to shut down websites and monitor online activities. The court in October issued a four-month injunction that was to have lapsed this week, as it scrutinised the law for possible violations of constitutional provisions on freedom of expression. De Lima did not say how long the new injunction would be in force and Supreme Court officials declined to comment. Aquino spokesman Ramon Carandang said the government acknowledged the public’s concerns. He noted that even its chief lawyer, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza, had publicly acknowledged that shutting down websites may be illegal.