Of Kuwait and DSLR cameras
The ban that wasn't
The Kuwait Times, our source for the story first published as Kuwait bars DSLR cameras in public places, has retracted the claims on which the story was based. This means we were wrong too. We apologise.
FYI - here is the Kuwait Times's retraction, published on Saturday, 27th November. Our story is published below this.
RETRACTION On Saturday, November 20, 2010 the Kuwait Times published an article titled 'Multi ministry camera ban frustrates artists' in which incorrect information was provided. The newspaper regrets failing to verify the information. The article wrongly stated that a ban on DSLR cameras was implemented by the Ministries of Information, Social Affairs and Finance. This information is false. In a follow up investigation, it was proved that no such ban has been issued. We regret this error and deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Kuwait has banned DSLR cameras in public places - except if you are a journalist.
But the ban does not apply to compact cameras or cameras in smart phones. Eccentric or what? And what about camcorders?
Majed Al-Saqer told the English-language Kuwait Times, which broke the news of the DSLR ban, that "sometimes people stop him while he is in his car with his camera, as if he were planning to kill someone with it. He said that he isn't sure what the real problem is, whether it is people taking photos of each other or the size of the camera".
This month, the Kuwait government announced plans to block all pornographic sites and an agreement with Research in Motion (RIM) to "provide information about any number in accordance with the law".
Sick of this crap!
I am a very keen amateur snapper and even here in the UK I have been picked on just because I shoot with a large DSLR, various bits plugged into it and a big wide lens, yet the security rent-a-cops ignore others with compacts and mobiles. I got asked to leave the spot outside London City Hall once by a security guard, while other people walked past with mobiles and compacts taking shots! It was only after I complained to the building supervisor at city hall about it, that I got an apology from the land owners!
So your average terrorist would lug a 4KG tripod, a 12KG bag of kit to a reccy would they? Then spend 10 minutes lining up their shots? Yeah, 'cos your average terrorist nutter is always trying to draw attention to himself when he's on a reccy! Isn't it more likely if you're up to no good, you will use something that will make you look more like, I dunno a typical f**king tourist than a pro/amateur snapper?
Maybe it's more to do with them not wanting tourists recording the conditions of the construction workers who are treated as slaves and housed in squalor.
We can't have anything getting in the way of the image of properity and wonderful buildings, can we?
You're applying common sense to the matter. Normally that's a good thing but doesn't really apply to the "War on Terror" (nor the other Wars on Intangible Concepts we seem to be so keen on fighting).
Why would they want to keep an eye on press photographers in Kuwait. The same reason as any government wants to keep an eye on the press and in particular it's recording of fact.
Next time there's a demo in the UK arm yourself with a meaty SLR and try taking pictures of the police and see what happens. Take pictures of a demonstrator smashing private property and the police will do nothing. Take pictures of the police and see how long they leave you alone.
The authorities in any country do not like the press recording the actions of the authorities in action. Unless of course it's an approved photo shoot.
Because of oil...
Otherwise they're just another bunch of repressive fundie religious nutcases. The war was supposed to restore American access to the oil.
A friend works for GE Power Gen, and had to go over there to diagnose a steam turbine that fragged itself. They fought having a woman look at their equipment (fnarr!) tooth and nail, but since she's the expert, there wasn't much choice. They still gave her crap, but since she was fixing their turbine that was having a several-million-dollar-a-day downtime, she was able to shove it back in their faces.
Muslims, Christians, I hate the lot of 'em. We need a sniper rifle icon, but the grenade will do.