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MPs bid to clip press closures Suspension of dailies mars reputation

KUWAIT CITY, April 21: MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari presented a draft bill to amend Press and Publications Law number 3/2006 right after the issuance of a decision on the temporary closure of Al-Watan and Alam Al- Yawm newspapers for violating the directive of the Public Prosecution which prohibited the publication of information about case number 1241/2013. Al-Kandari proposed replacing Article 15 of the law with the following text: “Without prejudice to the text of the previous article, it is not allowed to revoke the license or suspend the distribution of any newspaper, except through the final ruling of a competent court”.

Commenting on the issue, MP Riyadh Al-Adsani said, “The government seems to be heading towards the path of restricting freedom and silencing the people.” He expressed discontent on what he called “the latest governmental stunt.” Addressing the information minister, the MP urged the latter to call to mind his previous statement that he does not want to shut down newspapers; considering he ordered the closure of the two dailies.

He asserted the minister is contradicting himself, noting that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued statements affirming the act is a clear violation of freedom. He stressed, “We do not allow the government to present the picture of a country without freedom to the international community.

He argued Article 15 of the Press and Publications Law is merely a precautionary measure but the government is using it to impose penalties. He considers the action of the government as a clear manifestation of backwardness in terms of press freedom.

Al-Adsani had earlier warned against the closure of newspapers as it is unacceptable. He also unveiled his plan to include the issue in the grilling request he will submit against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak; affirming this interpellation is a step in the right direction.

He then asked his other colleagues why they still believe the current government is productive, considering that almost every facility in the country continues to deteriorate; made worse by the decision to shut down two newspapers. He alleged the government has done nothing but harm itself and the reputation of the country. He said the government will not achieve its goals through the suspension of two newspapers, for there are 15 other newspapers still in service, both in printed and electronic forms. In another development, MP Abdul- Rahman Al-Jeeran called on the concerned authorities to monitor all TV channels to prevent the airing of immoral shows and to stop the unjustified wastage of food during Ramadan. He underlined the importance of taking into account the requirements and obligations during the holy month as stated in the Holy Qur’an that God had instructed Muslims to fast this month. He said the obligations of Muslims include avoiding obscenity, immorality and disobedience; while focusing on good deeds, generosity and kindness to please God Almighty. He noticed the spread of indecent movies, competitions and series in recent years; indicating these are not in line with the sanctity of the holy month and Muslims only waste time in such activities without any benefit. He urged the Ministry of Information to review all programs and TV series being prepared for the coming Ramadan to ensure strict compliance with the teachings of Islam.

On the meals distributed by philanthropists for breaking the fast, Al-Jeeran pointed out this is done in an extravagant manner. He stressed the need for proper coordination to determine the exact number of beneficiaries to avoid wastage. He also suggested that the extra meals could be reserved for dawn meal rather than throwing them away. He asked the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to address these negative phenomena and educate worshipers on the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) about Ramadan. He then praised the distinguished work of the ministry for hosting readers of the Holy Qur’an in Kuwait. He also called on the Interior Ministry to closely monitor concerts and gettogethers during Ramadan nights, as well as the visas issued to those entering the country within this period; particularly those found to have violated the law, morals and values of the Kuwaiti society.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mubarak Khrainej has condemned the series of armed robberies in the cooperative societies in Farwaniya Governorate. He warned about the dangerous repercussions of the spread of violence in the country; while criticizing those behind the armed robberies alleging they intend to destabilize the nation. He appealed to the Ministry of Interior to arrest the culprits immediately and strictly apply the law to serve as deterrent to others. Furthermore, the parliamentary committee investigating the multimillion deposits and foreign remittance scandal has asked the Central Bank of Kuwait to provide information on the bank accounts of MPs, who were not referred to the Public Prosecution, from 2006 to 2009. Committee Chairman MP Sultan Al- Shimiri confirmed they have already looked into massive data as part of preparations for the submission of a final report on the investigation.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmad Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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