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article imageKuwait media law proposes jail and fines of up to $1 million

By R. C. Camphausen     Apr 13, 2013 in Politics
Kuwait - The cabinet of Kuwait has approved a new media law that severely restricts freedom of the press and free speech; including bloggers and people using FaceBook, Twitter or other social media.
There is one last chance the new media law may see changes, because it still has to be read and approved by the National Assembly. However, since the law is worded in what one could call 'a sneaky way', imposing the heavy fines for 'insulting or criticizing' Allah, the emir, or the crown prince, chances that the Assembly will let it pass are great.
According to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Minister of Information, Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, has said about the law that it is meant to "bolster" and "buttress" Kuwait's media landscape; a statement that is highly cynical when we look at the proposed details.
Up to 10 years in prison for insulting Allah, the prophet Mohamed or his wives and companions. Fines up to 300,000 dinars ($1 million) for insulting emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
Most disturbing is the announcement that such sentences can be handed down outside the criminal justice system. The terms insulting and criticizing can be applied to anyone voicing the slightest complaint about the state of affairs in the country, even a member of the ruling family (Sheikh Meshaal al-Malik Al-Sabah) was recently detained for Twitter remarks about corruption within the government. His critical words were then interpreted as having "stabbed the rights and powers of the Emir."
On the website of Arabian Business, we read the following:
The new regulations threaten to diminish Kuwait’s standing as the leader in media freedom in the Arab world, according to Reporters Sans Frontières, which ranked it top in the region in its World Press Freedom Index at number 60.
More about freedom of speech, Censorship, Media, Social media, Internet censorship
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