Though press offences are no longer punishable by prison sentences, the threat of huge fines still looms over many media workers.19 The Ministry of Communication regulates ISPs in Kuwait, forcing them to block pornography, anti-religion, anti-tradition, and anti-security websites to “protect the public by maintaining both public order and morality.”20 Both private ISPs and the government take actions to filter the Internet.
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Despite a ban on political parties, formal political groups exist which support MPs and other political candidates.1 The media in Kuwait is the most outspoken in the Arab world and “often aggressive in their coverage of politics and the government,” but journalists exercise self-censorship when covering matters relating to the emir (President) and members of the royal family.2 In 2006 a new press law was instituted which granted the media more autonomy.
Many previous press offenses have become legalized, the press market is open to new political daily newspapers (previously the number was limited), and “media outlets can also file a complaint with an administrative court if the authorities refuse to grant them an operating license.”3 However, the law has also become more stringent concerning religious or national matters.
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Though the media in Kuwait is among the most outspoken in the Gulf states, journalists self-censor on issues related to the royal family.