Kuwait, which just sentenced a man to seven years in prison for an inflammatory tweet, is gearing up to restrict the use of social media in the country.
Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Information Minister, last week declared that Kuwait plans to enact new laws which stifle the use of social networks like Twitter to better “safeguard the cohesiveness of the population and society.” Sites like Twitter and Facebook have been ignited already tense relations between Sunnis and Shi’ites in the region. Besides the Kuwaiti citizen who was sentenced to 7 years for insulting Kuwait’s Shi’ite Muslim minority, another man was recently arrested for allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammad on his Twitter account, which lead to social unrest, with groups demanding that he be executed.
Up until recently, Kuwait was described by OpenNet as having “the most outspoken (network) in the Arab world.” Though, anything to do with pornography, anti-religion, anti-tradition, and anti-security is blocked by the Ministry of Communication. It’s not yet clear exactly what new rules will be put into place, though they will likely have to do with content that incites social tension, and anything to do with anonymous speech.