Govt Attempts To Censor Blogs ‘Unacceptable’
By Ahmad Saeid, Staff Writer
Reprinted from ‘Kuwait Times’ (4th January, 2010)
The minister of information is using the instability caused by the programs aired on those two TV channels, and the whole issue of national unity, as means to impose restrictions on bloggers,” said Al-Mutairi.
While he agreed that there is a group of MPs who support freedom of expression Al-Mutairi noted that some Parliamentarians have double standards about this issue. “I think that, unfortunately, a large group of MPs support the media when it speaks favorably of them and discard the media when it criticizes them,” he said.
Muhammad Al-Yousifi, another Kuwaiti blogger, said that the government has been wanting to place restrictions on bloggers for some time now. “They have been wanting to do this since the scandal of changing the electoral districts in 2006,” he said. “They only got the chance to do it now with this Parliament which is mostly ‘governmental.’ Especially since a number of bloggers are now attacking MPs.
Al-Yousifi said that the law is “more laughable than it is scary” both because of the motive to monitor blogs, and the process of monitoring blogs itself. “How do they want to conduct this censorship? They can’t do it, they physically can’t do this,” he said.
Abdul Aziz Al-Ateeqi, Kuwaiti blogger and a co-founder of the biggest blogging aggregation website in the Middle East, ‘KuwaitBlogs.com,’ said Online Casino that it will be very difficult for the government to censor or block blogs because most of the servers that contain these blogs are outside Kuwait . They don’t fall under the jurisdiction of Kuwaiti law. “Even if they are willing to block them, people can still access them via proxies. Governments cannot stop that and cannot identify those who access them,” he said.
Al-Ateeqi also pointed out that there is a huge misunderstanding about what blogs are among Kuwaiti people in general. “Blogs are a micro prototype of Kuwaiti society. They are like diwaniyas. People speak what they think in them and if someone is [upset] by a Member of Parliament he will write his feelings in his blog. These views and feelings are varying and they are about different subjects. Political blogs are less than 15 percent of the whole blogosphere of
The issue of freedom of expression has been dwelled on for the past few years in
Minister of Information, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, is still under fire from the National Assembly (NA) after a number of MPs demanded the closure of the Al-Soor channel. They accused the Minister of allowing the channel to broadcast without proper permission. A number of MPs announced they will file an interpellation motion against the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah if he does not fire the Minister.
Last October however, some of those same MPs held a number of demonstrations where they claimed the government was not doing enough to protect the freedom of expression. The demonstrations occurred after the publisher of an online newspaper, Zaed Al-Zaed, was attacked by an anonymous man.