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Kuwait press enjoys substantial freedoms -- top editors

Al-Qabas chief editor Walid Al-Nisf
Al-Qabas chief editor Walid Al-Nisf
By Sara Al-Mkhaizeem KUWAIT, May 2 (KUNA) -- Top Kuwaiti journalists have affirmed that the national press enjoys substantial freedoms, noted that national personnel observe self-censorship and cautioned against misuse of the freedoms in the profession.
The journalists expressed their opinions in an interview with KUNA on World Press Freedom Day, falling on Friday, under the motto, "A press for the planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis." UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, had adopted May 3 as the day for observing the international press freedom day. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 upon a recommendation forwarded by the UNESCO General Assembly in 1991.
The freedom of the press is a foundation for democracies worldwide and plays a crucial role for social progress and full-scale development.
Abdulatif Al-Nisef, the chief editor of the mass circulation Al-Qabas, said the press's main goal, 30 years after the UNGA declaration, has remained freedom of information dissemination.
Al-Nisef affirmed the necessity of safeguarding the freedom of the profession and noted the dedication of personnel who have sacrificed their souls while serving the profession.
Kuwait is at the forefront in the Gulf with respect to the freedom of the press, he said, touting the Kuwaiti press for adhering to objectivity throughout the years.
He affirmed the necessity of adherence to the freedom of the press and resisting "attacks" against some media outlets, aimed at jeopardizing their independence and paid tribute to the profession martyrs who have fallen in various hot spots across the globe including Gaza.
The press in Kuwait has been solid for a long time and has taken forefront positions in tackling major local, national and internal issues, Al-Nisef said. It is distinguished with self-consciousness of the red-line matters or issues that legally cannot be published or contradict the principles of the Constitution.
He also affirmed the media personnel's right to freedom of expression, freedom of the research and free access to information, in addition to the necessity of combating false and misguiding information, according to the criteria set by the Kuwaiti constitution and laws, based on the international human rights principles.
On the standards of the freedom of the press, Al-Nisef has said that they are not constant, indicating that the World Press Freedom Index depends on records of specialized organizations that monitor freedoms in this sector worldwide and authorities' respect for the profession.
Al-Nisef added that there are certain restraints on the press in all countries of the world.
As for Kuwait, the number of the topics that cannot be published has been lowered from 11 to five.
Media personnel cannot be creative without sufficient freedom and an adequate work environment, he said. "The quest for the truth is an avenue to enrich knowledge and constitutes a moralistic basis to refresh the free, critical thinking and expressing the opinbion and discussing public affairs.
The chief editor of Al-Jarida daily newspaper, Khaled Hilal Al-Mutairi, has said that Kuwait, since hundreds of years back, has enjoyed wide margins of freedom of expression. The Kuwaiti constitution has maintained these freedoms with non-controversial provisions.
Al-Mutairi called for adhering to the bounty of freedoms however he cautioned that freedoms cannot be without limits and must be regulated, citing prohibited matters such as publishing materials detrimental to the homeland interests, breaching individuals' dignity and personal freedoms.
Any scoop turns devoid of value if it comes at the expense of the homeland's integrity or interests, he said.
Yusuf Khaled Al-Marzoug, the chief editor of the daily newspaper Al-Anbaa,, said the Kuwaiti press is one of the manifestations of democracy and a basic part of the vitality and efficiency of the country's life at the political, economic, social, and sports levels.
Al-Marzoug has added that the national press has contributed to the country's renaissance and has proven a suitable arena for employing digital technology.
His peer of Al-Rai, Walid Jassem Al-Jassem, said the International Freedom of the Press reminds some governments of the importance of the freedom of the press and putting limits for their excessive intervention in its tasks.
Some of the press basics are the opinion expression on public affairs, he said, calling for abstention from misusing the freedoms and indicating that some constraints on the Kuwaiti press are positive and others are negative. (end) sm.rk