Kuwait's media freedom under threat amid political crisis

Middle East News
2023-09-11 | 05:47
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Kuwait's media freedom under threat amid political crisis
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Kuwait's media freedom under threat amid political crisis

Kuwait has long stood out in the Gulf region for its relative freedom of expression. 

However, a proposed media regulation law that could tighten the noose on press freedom amid an ongoing political crisis is sparking controversy.

Indeed, several lawmakers have protested against the government's proposed law to "regulate" the media, with some considering it an "assault on the essence of democracy," while others argue that those who cannot accept criticism should "stay home."

The oil-rich state enjoys a dynamic political life, in contrast to its neighbors, which are tightly controlled by ruling monarchs.

The contentious draft law, still under discussion, aims to punish critics of top politicians, including the Crown Prince, akin to key figures in the ruling family.

This controversial text comes after years of political stagnation marked by ongoing tensions between the parliament led by a shifting political opposition and the executive branch dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family.

The Kuwaiti government has not responded to questions from AFP regarding the proposed law up for discussion.

Kuwaiti academic Badr Al-Saif argues that in the age of globalization and new information technologies, "restricting freedom of expression and the press today through laws may be a constitutional matter, but in any case, it goes against the current."

Saif believes that Kuwaitis take pride in their history of freedom of assembly and expression, pointing to the ongoing mobilization of civil society "on various issues." He emphasizes that "Kuwaiti policymakers would be better off protecting these rights rather than seeking to restrict them."

In defense of the right to information, the "Manshoor" website was established a decade ago by young independent journalists. It is one of the few platforms in the Gulf that addresses taboos in political and social issues.


AFP


Middle East News

Kuwait

Media

Freedom

Threat

Political

Crisis

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