A Partially Free Press
According to the 2005 Freedom House Country Ratings Kuwait is one of the very few

KTV Logo
KTV1 logo

countries in the Middle East listed as having a partly free media. This is due to its democratic nature where the parliament is elected by the people, and mainly because of its privately owned print media industry 7.

 

 

The Print Media
Kuwait has five Arabic and two English dailies, each with a specific ideology. The most popular newspapers are AL-Qabas (Starbrand), a very liberal paper, and Al-Watan, which offers one of the most conservative perspectives. The limitations of the freedom of the press are defined in the press law of 1961, where newspapers can be fined if they criticize the government, the ruling family, other Arab states, allies of Kuwait or religion and religious figures 2, 6. There have been more freedoms, however, after the Gulf War. During the Gulf War, many members of the ruling family went on exile. When Kuwait was liberated, the people showed their hostility toward the ruling family’s acts and demanded more freedoms. Today, we see the government being criticized very often, but there are still some self-imposed limitations to those criticisms. We see many editorials criticizing the governments and government officials, and surprisingly, some reforms have sparked out of these editorials. Having said that, there are still restrictions on criticizing the Al Sabahs, and this is mainly due to ensure order and stability in the region.

Kuwaiti Newspapers
The Starband
The Starband
Public Opinion
Public Opinion
The Nation
The Nation
Arab Times
Arab Times
Kuwait Times
Kuwait Times

Broadcast Media
The broadcasting media in Kuwait is owned, controlled and financed by the government. Kuwait has 6 TV stations: KTV 1, which consists of daily Arabic programs and news. There is another version of this channel that serves satellite viewers; KTV 2 is the English language

News Broadcast
A picture of a news broadcast

channel; KTV 3 deals mainly with sports and youth issues; KTV 4 is the movie channel; the recent KTV 5 channel has programs derived from all the other channels, but its main audience is the over than 2000 Kuwaiti students and other Arab speaking people studying or living in the U.S. Its programs are scheduled according to the Eastern Time Zone. There are about 18 radio stations, but three of which are the most dominant. Radio station FM 103.7 is the Arabic music station, FM 99.7 is the English music station and there is an Islamic station, which broadcasts verses from the Koran on a 24 hour basis. Most of Kuwait’s television and radio stations can be seen or heard live via the Ministry of Information’s website: http://www.media.gov.kw/

Privatization
In 2004, Al-Rai Alam (Public Opinion) newspaper launched the first privately owned Kuwaiti satellite channel called Al-Rai (the opinion). This station began its programming with an entertainment perspective, but it has slowly changed its pace toward more social and controversial issue oriented programming. Many former and prominent Kuwaiti journalists left the government controlled KTV to host programs, which discuss issues such as homosexuality, gender segregation, sEducation, drugs, corporate corruption and human rights. Even though Al-Rai is a new TV channel, it is gaining a lot of popularity among Kuwaiti and other Arab viewers.

 

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