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July 14, 2024

Kuwait marks Press Freedom Day


Kuwait will join the world and international organizations to celebrate World Press Freedom Day, which will be held this year under the slogan – “Journalism for the Planet: Journalism Confronting the Environmental Crisis”. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted World Press Freedom Day on May 3 every year, which was declared by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following the recommendation adopted at the 26th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1991.

Freedom of the press is the basic wheel on which the democratic system in the world is based, and it plays a vital role in advancing human dignity, promoting social progress, and achieving comprehensive development. On this occasion, some Kuwaiti media professionals stressed, in remarks to KUNA on Thursday, Kuwait’s leadership in press freedom in the region over the past decades.

Al-Qabas newspaper editor-in-chief, Waleed Al-Nisf, said that more than 30 years after the UN General Assembly declared World Press Freedom Day, the historical connection between the freedom to request and transmit information and the freedom to receive it from the recipient remains the main goal of journalism. Al-Nisf stressed the need to adhere to and respect press freedom as an opportunity to restore and evaluate the basic principles of press freedom and defend the media from attacks targeting its independence, recalling the journalists who lost their lives while on duty, especially in hot spots around the world, specifically Gaza.

He stated that Kuwait is considered to be in the advanced ranks in the Gulf region in terms of freedom of the press. Al-Nisf said that no country in the world is devoid of press restrictions. In Kuwait, for example, the print press is governed by the Publications Law, adding that the amendments to it have now been reduced to five prohibitions that may not be published, up from 11 prohibitions. For his part, the editor-in-chief of Al-Rai newspaper, Walid Al-Jassem, said that World Press Freedom Day comes to remind the world as a whole and governments in particular of the importance of a free press.

Al-Jassem affirmed that every freedom has limits, indicating that the definition of freedom is that you can do things that are not criminalized by the law. He stated that one of the basics of the press is the expression of opinion on public and private issues through freedom governed by law, indicating that the articles of the Constitution emphasize the importance of freedom. He also pointed out that Kuwait enjoys a large margin of freedom of the press.

Al-Jassem noted that there are many restrictions on the Kuwaiti press, some of which are desirable restrictions, such as professional, social, moral, and religious commitment, which is extremely important, and some of which may be undesirable, such as blackmail, pressure, and threats by the law. Khaled Al-Mutairi, Chief Editor of Al-Jarida newspaper, said Kuwait and its people have been enjoying a great margin of freedom for hundreds of years, noting the constitution has maintained and deepened this freedom.

He described this freedom of expression as a “blessing” that should be preserved in a responsible manner that avoids offending people and their dignities. Al-Mutairi said any scoop would be “worthless” if it violated the freedoms of people or was at the expense of the nation. Yousuf Al-Marzouq, Chief Editor of Al-Anbaa newspaper, said the Kuwaiti press was an integral part of the vitality of political, economic, social, and sporting life in the nation.

“Our press contributed through history to many issues that raised awareness, so it became a major pillar in the advancement of Kuwait,” he said. The Kuwaiti press, according to Al-Marzouq, represented all segments of society, covering all issues of interest to them. He said the press was keen on maintaining a balance between responsible freedom and respect for professional criteria.

Message from KJA

May 3rd, every year, coincides with World Press Freedom Day. On this occasion, the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) emphasizes respect for press freedom and the need to create the appropriate atmosphere for a free press that carries out its duties towards society. We need to provide all possible facilities for journalists to perform their work without any harassment from any party, especially since we are in a country that enjoys an atmosphere of freedom and democracy. The Board of Directors of the Kuwait Journalists Association affirms that this occasion is an opportunity to stand by the various media outlets and colleagues of the profession and support them in practicing their work and performing their roles responsibly. — Agencies

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