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Gulf States Curtail Online Dissent

Published on 02 April 2013, by M. Tomazy.
by Leila Hatoum
Some Persian Gulf monarchies have been shutting down critics who use social media to spread their views, in response to rising dissent unleashed by the region's Arab Spring rebellions.

The monarchies have grown more sensitive to social-media critiques over the past year, after activists used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to organize protests that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011.

On Sunday, Kuwait's criminal court handed down a five-year prison sentence to a Twitter user convicted of defaming the ruling prince, the monarchy's ninth conviction of someone for tweets this year. Others are awaiting trial in Kuwait on charges.