FEBRUARY 7, 2005
Posted: February 11, 2005

All newspapers

In a meeting with leading Kuwaiti editors, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah warned that the Cabinet would suspend or permanently close newspapers that published information about ongoing state investigations of terrorism suspects or unauthorized information about the country’s security situation, according to international and local press reports, as well as Kuwaiti journalists who spoke with CPJ.

“What a journalist considers a journalistic scoop could be, from a security perspective, harmful to the safety of security forces or the ongoing investigations with the detained, and help the terrorists deflect the security forces pursuing them,” the daily Al-Watan quoted you as saying.

One editor who attended the meeting said editors were also advised that their reporting on the state’s battle with militants should conform with official information from the Ministry of Interior. He said officials were prepared to carry out the closures in accordance with Article 35 of the Press Law, which empowers authorities to suspend or close publications.

Kuwaiti journalists told CPJ that government officials claimed that some press reports about militant suspects provided details, such as the type of car suspects were driving, that helped them elude capture. Another report about an alleged militant threat to attack Shiite religious sites also angered officials.

Journalists also suspect that several columns recently published in the daily Al-Qabas harshly criticizing the government for allegedly abetting religious extremism have also upset authorities.