Kuwait government, parliament to debate merits of new online publishing law

July 12, 2010

Kuwait’s information minister said that it would soon submit a draft law for electronic publishing to the government. The draft will later be given to the parliament for debate.

Sources told local daily Al Jareeda that the ministry had gained insights into the British and American experience in online journalism and blogging. The ministry also sent officials to Arab countries to learn about their experiences.

According to the unnamed sources, the information ministry will coordinate with the communication authorities to ensure that the technical aspect of the law would be realistic and practical.

“The draft law is not meant to limit freedoms or freedom of expression as some people tend to believe,” the sources told the paper. “In fact, the law governing online publishing will stress freedom of expression, but will also emphasize national unity and avoiding slandering.”
The law will boost professional media work for the sake of public interest, particularly in reporting genuine and correct facts without resorting to sensationalism or targeting people’s reputations, the paper said.

“The information ministry will monitor websites the way it is following what is published by newspapers and satellite channels so that the law is applied with the same vigour. The law will also allow people who feel they have been unfairly treated to file lawsuits,” the sources said.

Kuwait’s information minister last year came under intense fire after a privately-owned channel beamed a talk show in which the hosts accused Bedouins of breaking the law by holding dual citizenship.

The programme caused outrage and several rallies were staged demanding the resignation of the information minister and threatening to quiz the prime minister. The channel was taken off the air and its owner was momentarily detained.

The information minister said that he would endorse a draft law that would include tough action against people targeting national unity and social peace.

However, several media people expressed concerns that the law would limit their freedom to express themselves.




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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