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Kuwait sets up massive media monitoring committee amid Gulf rift

Internet patrols are monitoring microblogs and social media to deal with attempts to sow divisions within Kuwait

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait is setting up a committee to deal with attempts to use social media to spread rumours, target other countries or fuel sectarianism and sedition.

The governmental committee will compromise representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, information and endowments, Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas reported on Wednesday.

“The committee will monitor social media posts and other media reports that attempt to ignite sedition, fuel sectarianism, or attack iconic figures and policies in brotherly and friendly countries,” a “high-level source” was quoted as saying by Al Qabas.

The interior ministry is to monitor all social media accounts and to refer abusers to courts while the information ministry is to set up a team to follow up on all violations in electronic and print media and refer violators to the public prosecution, the source added.

“The endowments ministry will be in charge of monitoring religious sermons and discourses. It will also be tasked with motivating religious figures to encourage unity and warn against discord. Preachers should not deliver political sermons.”

The foreign ministry will continue to assume its diplomatic roles abroad to help address rifts within the Arabian Gulf, the source said.

A security source told the daily that “internet patrols” were monitoring microblogs and social media to deal with attempts to sow divisions within Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf or to deride religions and sects.

The source added that the cybercrime law applies to Kuwaitis living abroad and that violators would be held legally responsible for their abuse.

“If the court rules against them, we will contact the International Police (Interpol) to repatriate them in cooperation with the countries with which we have agreements,” the source said.

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