Definition Of Goodwill Speech

Formerly Liberal Kuwait has started Jailing Dissident Bloggers (Kinninmont)  February 17, 2013 – 05:05 am
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Jane Kinninmont writes for ISLAMiCommentary

Kuwait has traditionally had the greatest freedom of speech of all the Gulf monarchies, as well as having the most powerful parliament. Yet, like all its Gulf neighbours, it has started to crack down on criticism of the ruler since the onset of the Arab spring.

At least 25 people have been charged with “insulting” the Emir since October 2012, and several of them, including three former MPs, have been convicted this year. But in a sign that local and international pressure may be causing the authorities to reconsider, a Kuwaiti court this week acquitted five activists of similar charges – just one day after Human Rights Watch issued a hard-hitting statement urging the Kuwaiti government to drop ”all speech-related charges against online activists and former members of parliament.”

Social media use is soaring in the Gulf, and Kuwaitis use Twitter more than any of their neighbours, with nearly one-quarter of a million Twitter users in a country of 2.8m people — the highest proportion of the population in the Arab world.

The predominantly young population, more than half of which is under 30, is attracted to social media partly because it offers freer debate than the traditional newspapers and broadcasters, though of course many use it primarily for socialising and flirting.

Source: Informed Comment

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