Kuwaiti MP moves to grill information minister over controversial TV show

February 23, 2010

Ali Al Deqbasi

A Kuwaiti lawmaker filed a request on Tuesday to grill Information and Oil Minister Shaikh Ahmad Abdullah Al Sabah over a controversial TV show deemed offensive to Bedouin tribes.

MP Ali Al Deqbasi, a member of the opposition Popular Action Bloc, charged the minister of failing to apply the 2006 law on the financial auditing of establishments and companies licenced to publish and broadcast.

However, the more significant charge against the minister is his “leniency in applying the provisions of the law towards seditious channels that are unauthorized or that break the law,” Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

The minister was dragged into a controversy after Al Soor (The Wall) a private television channel aired in December a talk show that claimed that tribesmen were not true citizens of Kuwait and that many of them broke the law by holding dual citizenship. Only the people who lived inside the walls of Kuwait City were the genuine inhabitants of the emirate, the programme alleged.

Angry tribesmen who make up half of the country’s native population and around half of the parliament staged rallies to demand action against the television station and its owner Mohammad Al Juwaihel and threatened to grill the prime minister and several other officials for allowing the channel to divide Kuwaitis into entities.

The government took the station off the air and detained Al Juwaihel upon his return from Cairo where he allegedly negotiated the broadcast of more channels. His detention however sparked calls by several MPs, including Speaker Jassem Al Khurafi, “not to get too emotional over the issue and to approach it in a sensible matter that preserves everybody’s rights.”

Al Juwaihal was later released, but several MPs said that they would grill the information minister for his alleged failure to address the issue.

Shaikh Ahmad was appointed one year ago as oil minister, but was in May given the information portfolio following the parliamentary elections.

His grilling will be the fifth in the current term of the parliament. However, the four ministers, including the prime minister, who were grilled in the autumn, were cleared by the MPs of the alleged charges of financial or management irregularities.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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