Kuwait shuts down two outlets after revoking CEO's citizenship

February 23, 2015 2:41 PM ET

Kuwaiti authorities withdrew the licenses of a TV station and daily newspaper in July 2014 after revoking the citizenship of the outlets' CEO, according to news reports. The paper and TV station were not operating.

Authorities shut the daily Alam Al-Youm and Al-Youm TV after revoking the citizenship of Ahmad Jabr, the outlets' CEO, news reports said. The government cited Kuwait's press law that states that the editor-in-chief of any media organization needs to be a citizen, according to the regional press freedom group the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.

News reports said that the government cited Article 13 of the nationality law that stipulates authorities can withdraw Kuwaiti citizenship from individuals who "spread principles that aim at demolishing the economic and social systems of the country."

Jabr's lawyer appealed the decision, saying the move was unconstitutional because Jabr had been born in Kuwait, news reports said. In September, Kuwait's administrative court ruled that it had no jurisdiction in the case, according to news reports. The journalist appealed to the Supreme Court.

Jabr, along with several of his family members, were rendered stateless, according to the international group Human Rights Watch. Dozens of Kuwaiti citizens were stripped of their citizenship in 2014 because they exercised free speech or other legal rights, the group said.

In recent years, authorities targeted Al-Youm TV and Alam Al-Youm, both of which supported the Kuwaiti opposition. In April 2014, a Kuwaiti court suspended Alam Al-Youm for two weeks after it allegedly broke a media blackout ordered by prosecutors about a videotape featuring government officials allegedly plotting a coup in Kuwait, according to news reports. In December 2012, authorities briefly shut Al-Youm TV, citing administrative reasons, according to news reports.

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