The Iraqi government is quietly proceeding on new censorship laws, moving to ban web sites deemed harmful to the public, to require Internet cafes to register with the authorities and to press publishers to censor books, the New York Times reports:
[…] Opponents of the proposals question why Iraq would seek to impose the same sorts of censorship that had been among the most loathed aspects of daily life under Saddam Hussein and suggest that they are another example of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s working to consolidate his power. The new policies will put Iraq more in line with neighboring Islamic states.
Indeed. Next up, restrictions on foreign media.
To be clear, even in most Western democracies freedom of speech does not mean freedom to incite violence or insult your enemies in public. Some countries, like Finland, still penalise blasphemy. At the same time, however, our constitution forbids censorship — no one can tell you not to publish irresponsible shit, but you might end up in the can for it.
I wonder if the Iraqi government’s American advisors, when they still had leverage, could have maybe pointed out this rather important distinction.