The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that the decision of the administration of Kuwait Book Fair to bar thirty five titles from displaying in Kuwait Book Fair, the 35th version starting mid October, is a continued restriction on freedom of expression. Lately , Kuwait started a crackdown on journalists , trying them for their opinion pieces asserting that the relative openness in Kuwait compared to its Gulf neighbours was a sweet memory.
The book fair administration decided to bar thirty five titles for distinguished Egyptian and Arab writers claiming the books were contrary to the fair and state policies, despite the fact that the barred books are not barred in any Arab country and they do not address the Kuwaiti government or society in any way.
The barred titles include ,” What Life taught me ?” by Mohamed Hasanein Heikal,”Arab Intellectuals and Israel” by Galal Amin, The Maligned Bunch by Fahmy Howaidi, Tyrants and The Unjust by Gamal Badawi , Poppies by Khairy Shalabi ,Stories of the Institute by Gamal alGhitany and Upper Egypt Train by Youssef al- Kaeed.
In addition , all books of Alaa al-Aswani were barred as well as other titles for Egyptian and Arab writers published by al-Shorouk and al- Ein print houses.
The Arabic Network said , ” The Kuwaiti government should correct this mistake immediately. Barring books is a spot in the Kuwaiti government record on human rights.
Needless to say that in the internet age , it has become extremely difficult to deprive citizens from information access and knowing different opinions rendering this type of control useless yet a clear evidence of the hostility of the Kuwaiti state towards freedom of expression.