Kuwait Bans DSLR’s in Public

I’ll repeat: DSLR’s banned in Kuwait. Unbelievable? Believe it. Reasons for it? I believe the reasons are not valid BUT every culture is different. I do respect their decision on the basis that Kuwait is rich enough to alienate tourist and photographers.

According to the Kuwait Times:

KUWAIT: After the ban three ministries placed on photography, most Kuwaiti youth are a bit confused about what to do with their cameras if they can’t use them in public and why such laws were implemented in the first place. The Ministry of Information, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Finance recently came to the conclusion that photography should be used for journalism purposes only. This has resulted in the ban of Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLRs) in public, on the streets and in malls.

What most Kuwaiti photographers have come to wonder is how such a decision could be reached by authorities, especially considering that 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. While using a DSLR, passersby may wonder if the camera is being used for the wrong reasons. By Abdullah Al-Qattan, Staff Writer, Multi ministry camera ban frustrates artists, Published Date: November 20, 2010

Like I said, to each their own.

Tourist beware-before heading to Kuwait leave the heavy gear at home and just bring your point and shoot. Besides, they are only banning DSLR’s. That means you can still use film SLR’s, micro-4/3rds, all the point and shoot available to mankind. Here’s what Photography Blog has to say:

According to multiple online sources, it is now illegal for amateur photographers to use their DSLR cameras in public in Kuwait. The curious regulation appears not to concern any other type of camera – so while you can’t use, say, an entry-level Digital Rebel or D3100 on the streets of the emirate; it is perfectly legal to shoot an EOS 1V or a Nikon F6, not to mention any Leica, analog or digital. Compacts and cell phones are also exempt from the ban. (Accredited journalists may carry on using their DSLRs too.)

Well, that’s it. I hope everyone had a great weekend and Kuwait, good thing the economy doesn’t center around tourism. When I do plan a trip to Kuwait I will be using my Canon AE-1 (that’s the slr on my title header).