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Ministry of Transportation monitors blogs and websites

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) warns of the seriousness of the news that the Kuwaiti Ministry of Transportation is monitoring blogs and websites. This constitutes an alarming move which is offensive to freedom of opinion and expression and an explicit attempt to gag bloggers. Primarily, however, it is an obvious violation of the constitution.

Media reports have published declarations by the minister of transportation to the effect that the monitoring of blogs does not constitute spying but rather a move to keep society intact and secure. However, some MPs and bloggers instead regard these measures as an attempt to thwart democracy and have declared their objections to the minister's explanations and excuses.

Kuwaiti bloggers set a date for a press conference to declare their rejection of measures that restrict freedoms, referring to the fact that Kuwait does not have any laws that would authorise officials to close or screen websites or blogs.

The offensive actions against blogs in Kuwait date back to the last parliamentary elections when some Internet service companies screened blogs in compliance with regulations and powers given to them by the government

Article 39 of Kuwaiti law states that "freedom of correspondence by post, telegraph and telephone is protected and confidentiality is guaranteed. Correspondence is not to be monitored or disclosed except in cases declared in the law and according to the listed proceedings within."

Kuwaiti bloggers attribute the declaration and measures of the minister to the fact that their blogs are debating and reflecting upon real societal problems without the calculations and balancing of interests that bind print media owners.

ANHRI calls on the Kuwaiti authorities to back off from this decision which is degrading to the state and aims to silence young bloggers who reflect a true image of society.

ANHRI also demands respect for the right that Kuwaiti bloggers have to express themselves and expose problems in Kuwaiti society, in order to prevent them from experiencing the same nightmare that Egyptian bloggers have suffered as they are pursued on a daily basis because of their writings.

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