Kuwait: A New Law Increasing Censorship And Opinion Repression
The Arabic Network for Human Rights information stated Today that the new law the Kuwaiti government is going to present to the parliament for censoring websites, is contradictory to the dominant trend in most of the world democratic countries which recommends the increase of freedom of expression especially on the internet. An article published by the Kuwaiti newspaper (Al-Watan) spoke about a trend in the ministry of information to provide more restriction and censorship over websites and blogs. This article summed up the on-going controversy in Kuwait nowadays between two currents: one, defending freedom of press and internet, while the other is seeking tighter measures of censorship and restrictions on freedom of expression. The latter has already achieved success in the last years in imposing tough restrictions on freedom of publishing and creativity.
This new project is reflecting a serious decline in the freedom of expression in Kuwait which it is represented in confiscating many political and literary books such as the novel (Chicago) by Alaa El-Aswany. The situation even was aggravated that some cartoon movies and games were prohibited besides shutting off many shops selling videos and music on the claim of defending morals and Islamic obligations. Gamal Eid, the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said “we think that this new law is representing a gathering point of interests between the Kuwaiti government and some extremist currents in Kuwait. Extremists have always called for imposing more stern censorship on the freedom of expression, and on the internet & few months ago, the internet activist Bashaar El-Saeigh was arrested because of the “redlines”, (from the Kuwaiti government point of view). Today, there is an intention toward imposing more strict censorship in order to please the extremist currents and to punish those who dare to criticize the Kuwaiti government”.
It is worthy to mention that Kuwait which was on the verge of being the most progressing models in development and civilization in the Gulf as it could be considered as a constitutional state with an active parliament and effective political blocs, is witnessing a retreat from democratic values, that the civil authorities are about to is about to shift these civil structures to a mere formality because of the mounting influence of those who are opposing freedom of expression and freedom of women. These freedom opponents are being now called “the Propagation of Virtue in Kuwait,” along the lines of what was done in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where expressions like “freedom of expression”, “women rights” or “fair trials” are not even in the vocabular