The Kuwait authorities levied charges of libel against Dr. Saad bin Tifla [translate], the publisher of the first online newspaper in the Gulf – Alaan – citing their Press & Publications Law of 2006. Dr Saad, an ex-minister of information in Kuwait, refuted the charges on the basis that the said law does not specify Internet publications and that as the server is physically in the United States, the Kuwaiti authorities have no jurisdiction over the site and its contents.
I wish Dr. Saad much luck with his case and fully support him and his points of view in this regard. The whole Arab world should seriously reconsider their stances against peaceful freedoms of expression and give up the ideology of control of information. They should come to the realisation that their much trusted “big red switch” no longer functions in this day and age. The quicker they come to that realisation, the better our chances at responsibly integrating with the world.
Attempting to shut websites and continuing to harass their webmasters simply for content they do not agree with is, in fact, one of the quickest ways of being shunned by the modern world.
Our governments seem to not understand that in this dynamic era, this and future generations will not be intimidated by their measures. Respect of basic human rights of which freedoms of express is central, is the only way to true partnership which will fully engage us in the development of our countries and societies.