While Internet technology has brought about many positive innovations particularly for faster communication not only domestically but globally, it has also resulted to numerous problems which have been affecting many nations worldwide. Since approximately 1995, numerous governments around the world have been addressing the problems of material on the Internet that is illegal under their offline laws, and also that considered harmful or otherwise unsuitable for minors (Electronic Frontiers Australia para. 6). Every country, state or race has certain aspects to protect which provide for their differences in assessing Internet censorship. However, the topmost priority is to safeguard the children from the destructive effects of the Internet since they are not mature enough to know what is good or bad for them.
According to a 1997 independent report, the International Press Institute World Review 1997, Kuwait is one of the most liberal countries in the Persian Gulf (“IFLA/FAIFE World” Report” para. 2). Internet access remains under government control, but without any censorship of contents (“IFLA/FAIFE World” Report” para. 3). The media in Kuwait including Internet usage benefit from proportional freedom of the press and intellectual freedom as well. Only issues which pertain to Islam are subject to constant debate and argument among public servants and legal advocates. Censorship in Kuwait was cancelled after the martial law of the post-Gulf War era, however, some amount of discrimination is still experienced by media men and journalists. As of 2005, 600,000 out of 2,630,775 population or 22.8% are Internet users in Kuwait.
From a personal point of view, absolute Internet censorship is not impossible however, it may deny the freedom of choice of some parties. It is good to know that Kuwaitis have a noninterventionist view of Internet freedom. But some amount of censorship is needed to protect the vulnerable members of society and the sensitive issues of Kuwait as well. The best option is to classify Internet contents as to what should be banned or not. One alternative is to go for selective or nominal censorship in that straining of certain Internet contents should be instigated. This can be done through the implementation of filtering or blocking technologies to stop child pornography, audio and video images of criminalities such as rape, strangulation, torture and the like, and exposure of critical issues on Kuwait — its government, religion and other relevant matters. In this sense, minors who are fond of Internet usage may regulate their access to harmful websites. At the same time, those adults who log on these pornographic sites for pleasure and entertainment purposes are not denied of their rights. And more importantly, protection of classified information about the government and private institutions is given justice.
In conclusion, the Internet is now a part of a Kuwaiti’s daily life therefore, we should make sure that what we are getting from it will help us grow into better individuals and members of society. Since it cannot be avoided that there are harmful and unhealthy contents in the Internet, these should be categorized according to some criteria and be classified to be totally banned, censored or open for everyone’s use. In this manner, the minors will be protected from pornography, crimes and vices which may affect their physical and psychological well-being. Moreover, Kuwait can preserve its integrity and strength as a nation.
Carlson, Roy. 25 August 2000. “Censorship on the Web.” 23 October 2007 <http://www.zenzibar.com/Articles/censorship.asp>
“Censorship.” n.d. 23 October 2007 <http://www.serendipity.li/cda.html#jonl>
Electronic Frontiers Australia. 28 March 2002. “Internet censorship: Law & policy around the world.” 23 October 2007 <http://www.efa.org.au/Issues/Censor/cens3.html>
“IFLA/FAIFE World Report: Libraries and Intellectual Freedom.” 28 November 1999. 24 October 2007 <http://www.ifla.org/faife/report/kuwait.htm>
“Kuwait Internet Usage and Marketing Report” n.d. 24 October 2007 <http://www.internetworldstats.com/me/kw.htm>
Madsen, Wayne. 9 December 2005. “Internet Censorship.” 23 October 2007 <http://www.rense.com/general69/intercens.htm>