According to a report in The Guardian, the Kuwait government has become more lenient with its censorship laws pertaining to books. This comes after it banned almost 5,000 books in the last seven years. The report further states that the country’s parliament voted in favour of Ministry of Information exercising no control over imported books. The same report further states that under the new rules, publishers need to give book titles and names of authors to the Ministry. In the past, books like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Hunchback of Notre Dame were banned.
“Congratulations to those in Kuwait who have successfully encouraged this change in favour of the freedom to publish,” Kristenn Einarsson, the chair of the International Publishers Association’s freedom to publish committee was quoted as saying.
“Abolishing the committee is a major accomplishment that is worthy of celebration, and the credit for it rightly goes to writers and activists like Bothayna al-Essa and Abdullah al-Khonaini, who lobbied tirelessly for this cause,” Kuwaiti-American author Layla AlAmmar was quoted as saying in the report.
Huge news for Kuwaiti writers. Yesterday, the parliament passed a law abolishing the censorship committee. If books are banned now, it will be by court order and not the shadowy machinations of some committee. There is more work to be done, but this is worth celebrating. 1/ https://t.co/5S5zenginl
— lalammar (@Layla_AlAmmar) August 20, 2020
“The freedom of expression is already restricted in Kuwait on multiple levels. This law doesn’t fix it. The amendment shifts the power of censorship away from the executive branch to the judicial branch. We still need to work on the prohibition section in the law, which needs a stronger political lobby and mature political and societal awareness,” Khonaini said.