Kuwait Bans Large Digital Cameras in Public Places

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While the government has not yet issued a statement on the ban, the Guardian -- and other outlets -- is reporting that three separate ministries in Kuwait have banned the use of large digital cameras in public places except by accredited journalists.

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.

Read the full story at the Guardian.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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