- Josh Halliday
- guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 November 2010 17.44 GMT
- Article history
Kuwait City: outlawing use of digital SLR cameras. Photograph: Greg Gibson/AP Photographers in Kuwait are facing a ban on the use of larger digital cameras in public places, according to a local media report.
Three government ministries in the Gulf state have outlawed the use of “digital SLR” (single lens reflex) cameras in public for all citizens except accredited journalists, according to the Kuwait Times.
The Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Finance implemented the ban late last week, according to the English-language newspaper. Smaller digital cameras and mobile phones are understood to be exempt from the ban.
The government has yet to issue a statement on the reported ban, and the Kuwaiti embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment when contacted today.
The Kuwait Times reports: “What most Kuwaiti photographers have come to wonder is how such a decision could be reached by authorities, especially considering digital cameras and cell phone cameras have the same abilities.
“What most people think of photography as a hobby has become a bit misguided due to the fact that the country has so little exposure to art.”
Digital SLR cameras may have been targeted as “big black camera[s] tend to worry people”, the newspaper said. “Taking a picture of a stranger would seem like much less of an issue if you were using a more discreet camera or even a cell phone.”
All Kuwait news media must obtain licences from the Ministry of Information, which regulates the publishing industry. A 2010 report on press freedom by campaign group Reporters without Borders gave Kuwait the top ranking among all Gulf states in terms of the freedom of its newspapers, despite the convictions of a number of high-profile bloggers in recent years.
Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem, a lawyer and prominent blogger, was jailed in Kuwait City on Monday evening after being found guilty of “attacking national unity” and defaming the prime minister.