Kuwaiti controversial TV channel owner to resume broadcasting despite information ministry ban

April 6, 2010
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A television channel owner at the centre of a bitter controversy in Kuwait has vowed to broadcast from a new provider after the information ministry had taken his station off Noor Sat.

“Al Sour Television will be back on air within two days,” Mohammad Juwaihal said. “The information ministry convinced Noor Sat to suspend our subscription by sending a delegation that pledged to pay the compensation costs for the cancellation of our contract, but we have other ways to reach out to the people,” he was quoted as saying in Kuwaiti media reports.

Juwaihal, a former parliamentary candidate, sparked uproar in Kuwait last year after Al Sour (The Wall) beamed a talk show in which hosts allegedly denigrated Bedouins living in Kuwait and accused them of breaking the law by holding dual citizenship.

Angry tribesmen who make up about half of Kuwait’s native population and members of parliament staged several rallies. The government took the station off the air and launched legal procedures against Juwaihal for allegedly eroding national unity.

However, the pressure on the government continued unabated and the information minister was eventually grilled and made to face a no-confidence vote after 10 MPs filed a motion.

The minister survived the motion by only one vote, but pledged to keep a vigilant eye on controversial media, including Al Sour.

However, Juwaihal criticized the information ministry for claiming that Al Sour TV was a threat to national unity and social cohesion.

“Is broadcasting patriotic songs a cause of social division? Or do such songs hurt the feelings of those who have dual citizenship? I am afraid there are people within the information ministry who are hypersensitive and the minister had better not listen to them,” he said.

         

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About the author

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

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