Beefed-up legislative arsenal gags dissent
Ruled by Sheikh Sabah IV, Kuwait is reputed to be the Gulf’s least repressive state but the UN Human Rights Council voiced concern in 2015 about “excessive restrictions on freedom of expression contained in the Press and Publication Law and related legislation.” The vaguely-worded provisions of a cyber-crime law that took effect in January 2016 pose a threat to bloggers and online journalists who post any critical content, and an electronic media law also forces them to apply for a license from the government. The restrictions are reflected in online censorship, arrests, and conviction of bloggers and online activists who are accused of destabilizing Kuwait if they make any disparaging comment about the emir, his family, or their allies. Al Watan TV’s closure in 2015 for “anti-government” comments and the 25-year jail sentence passed in absentia in January 2018 on the London-based Kuwaiti blogger Abdallah Saleh for insulting Kuwait’s allies sent a very clear signal to Kuwaiti dissidents.
104 in 2017
33.61 in 2017