An international press freedom group is urging Kuwait to abandon proposals to tighten media laws that could bring fines of nearly $1 million for insulting the Gulf nation's ruler and allow further clampdowns on blogs and websites.

The measures reflect wider efforts across the Western-backed Gulf states to expand media controls following the Arab Spring. Dozens of online activists across the region have been jailed.

Kuwait's proposed codes could bring some of the harshest penalties.

A report Wednesday by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the steep fines could bankrupt media outlets and bring jail time for journalists unable to pay.

Kuwait has the most politically open system among the Gulf Arab nations, but the ruling family is now locked in escalating showdowns with opposition groups.