Taking photos in Kuwait used to be difficult anyway – someone using a dSLR in public could be the recipient of suspicious looks or find themselves part of a nasty scene – but now the Kuwaiti government has managed to go one step further. All dSLRs have been banned from use in public places, including shopping malls, unless for photojournalistic purposes.
There doesn’t appear to be any especially clear rationale behind the move, because although photographing people is generally frowned upon in Islam, compact cameras and camera phones haven’t been subjected to a similar ban. It doesn’t seem to be that the Kuwaiti authorities are making a public bid to save the souls of their citizens. Unless of course, an outright ban is next on the agenda. Who knows?
I’m not sure whether my rant earlier this year about not being able to use a dSLR at a music festival, despite others waving their camera phones all over the shop, or using their compacts and irritating flashes, now seems unpleasantly churlish, or oddly prescient.
More details available from the Kuwaiti Times.