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News website blocked

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 22 March 2012 - ANHRI condemns the blocking of the website of al-Watan newspaper by the Kuwaiti authorities. A number of the newspaper's readers complained that the website is inaccessible within Kuwait and that they get an error message when trying to access the site. The administrators of the website have received no reasons or justifications for this blocking.

The website administrators were surprised by readers' messages stating that the website is inaccessible within Kuwait and the message “The website was blocked by the Ministry of Transportation in accordance with article VII of the Ministerial Resolution No. 103 of 2000, paragraph one on the regulations and bases of the Internet service provided by Internet companies in the state of Kuwait.” However, the administrative board of the website looked into article VII and the Ministerial Resolution and found nothing that justifies this blocking.

It is worth noting that Kuwait is not the first state that has blocked the website of al-Watan: it is blocked within Saudi Arabia and Syria, and was blocked in both Egypt and Tunisia during their revolutions, to be made accessible only after the ouster of their former dictators.

Al-Watan newspaper is an independent weekly newspaper that is issued in California in the United States. It is not directed against a particular regime. It is rather impartial and has enjoyed great popularity since its launch in 1990.

“How is it possible that a website is blocked in Kuwait in accordance with a fake article in the law? Blocking, censorship, and confiscation have become outdated means to silence newspapers' voices. There is no reason that justifies blocking a website or restricting freedom of opinion and expression of a citizen within his homeland,” said ANHRI.

ANHRI calls for removing the restrictions on al-Watan's website immediately, as well as any other website that has been arbitrarily blocked by the Kuwaiti authorities, and allowing freedom of opinion and expression within the country so that citizens can find an outlet for demanding their legitimate rights.

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