News about YouTube being blocked in Kuwait hit the headlines yesterday, with bloggers frustrated over what they described as yet another intrusion on freedom of speech in their country.
The Kuwait Ministry of Communications first issued an order to local ISPs denying access to Youtube due to video content considered offensive to Muslims and Islam. Blogger later reported that the ban was lifted after YouTube removed the ‘offensive’ video.
About the original ban, Ansam writes:
I think this is the dumbest decision ever made when it comes to blocking offensive sites… whats next? Blogs!!! Limewire!!!
Man this is ridiculous… no, no, no… its is ridiculously sad! Who comes up with such decisions! Isnt youtube also full of videos supporting Islam, Muslims, and Arabs! Why take the negative part?!?! Was it because of the Quranic verses read in melodic background? The video was removed for God's sake? You only need to report offensive videos and your voice will sure be heard!
I am hating this SO MUCH! Ughhhhhhhhh!
And when the ban was not implemented, Ansam exclaimed:
They canceled! Its not blocked… YAY
Another Kuwaiti blogger, Loft965, notes:
It’s the end of the world as we know it: Kuwait might block YouTube.
Bashar too is livid at the decision, suggesting that the government bans other sites while it is at it. His suggestions include:
If they still wanna move forward, despite that YouTube did really act upon the video, listned to people complains, and there isn’t really any such videos right now, then I have a list of suggestions to push our country furter forward, carefully selected from Alexa top 100 sites in Kuwait:
- Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search: The head of search to all evil things. Block them.
- Facebook: There are some athiest and anti-Islamic groups. Don’t try to reach them, educate them, or show your thoughts. Just leave the whole site.
- Maktoob.com: Arabic online forums, e-marriage could be abused for dating, movies, horoscopes. This is not Islamic is it?
- Kooora.com: All about soccer, mostly European soccer where teams show sponsored Beer and wine ads on their Shirts.
- RapidShare: Sharing is not monitored, you can’t tell what your people are sharing. And someone might be secretly sharing offensive content. There must be some of it. Or at least, just to be on the safe side
- Travian.ae: Obiously, why should you let your people play as Romanian soldiers in an online game, helping the Romanian empire expand it’s grounds online, when they could be fighting as Islamic ones.
- Hi5: Friendship site.
Falantan brings news of the order to ban YouTube being reconsidered at higher levels. He writes:
Thanks to you all and the amazing response, it seems the Ministry people are realizing their blunder […]And now I got confirmation that the Minister himself has convened with his department heads and rescinded the order.
Thank you al-Jarida and thank you bloggers of Kuwait :)
Writing in Arabic, Jandeef argues:
السكين يمكن استخدامها لتقطيع تفاحة وقص كيكة عيد ميلاد وأكل ستيك، لكن هناك من يقتل الناس فيها … ليش ما تمنعونها؟
السيارة وسيلة نقل وفي بعض الأحيان وسيلة كشخة، ولكن هناك من يستخدمها للسرقة
والتهريب، وأحياناً تتسبب بإصابة أحد أو فقد حياته … ليش ما تمنعونها؟
A knife can be used to cut an apple or a birthday cake, as well as for eating steak, but there are people who use it to kill… why don't you ban it?
A car is a means of transportation and sometimes it is a means of showing off. But there are some who use it rob others and smuggle, and sometimes it is causes injuries and kills people… why don't you ban it?
Jordanian Moey, who visits Kuwait regularly, urges the authorities:
Why block the website? I’m not sure if any of you remember, they blocked anything +18 in Yahoo groups 2 years back, and YouTube has an option that allows users to report offensive content.
Please don’t go nuts like Syria and block YouTube and Facebook?
And Frankom rants:
مبروك علينا دولة الديموقراطية والحرية
مبروك علينا ناس مثل الكندري مدير الرقابة
مبروك علينا وزير مايعرف وين الله قاطه
مبروك علينا شركات ماتدافع عن العملاء
مبروك علينا كلنا هذا النعيم
الى الخلف يا كويت
Congratulations on us being in the country of democracy and freedom
Congratulations on us having people like Al Kindiri as the head of censorship
Congratulations on us having a minister who doesn't know where he is
Congratulations on us having companies which don't stand up for their clients
Congratulations on us for living in all this prosperity
March backwards, Kuwait