“Freedom and responsibility are conjoined twins, if one gets separated from the other, they both die”, French Author, André Maurois (1885 — 1967).
Every country has its own laws; its own judicial system and courts but irresponsible freedom becomes a tool of destruction and wreckage. There is a common phrase, which people of wisdom usually reiterate in a bid to keep freedom in check: “Your freedom ends where the freedom of another person starts”.
Kuwait is a country of institutions that enjoys freedom of speech, freedom of press and opinion, so disputes or complaints related to freedom are referred to the judiciary, which enjoys good reputation, integrity and impartiality. The judiciary understands the principle of innocence until convicted, and we are proud of that.
When it comes to the government, this entity is known for its tradition of dealing with friendly countries — especially neighbors in the best possible manner through transparency and respect.
In many occasions, the government through its relevant channels has referred Kuwaiti columnists, authors and Twitter users to the Public Prosecution for offending friendly nations, especially the leaders and personalities of friendly nations.
It is common to hear that such offenses attract huge financial fines and even imprisonment — and whether or not we are in support of such measures; the main objective is to maintain the level of mutual respect while preventing unwarranted provocations. This is something almost every Kuwaiti believes in.
However, despite the plausible directives of Government and its effort to ensure that none of its citizens transgresses and dishonors any of our friendly nations, it is safe to say we haven’t heard of similar measures being taken by our friendly nations against their nationals who would offend our leaders and personalities.
I did not want to write this article — especially about this topic, but the recent transgressions committed by some of our brothers in the friendly countries that stooped to the level of insulting and defaming our state personalities is sad and uncalled.
Indeed, the region is going through unfortunate crisis between friendly and brotherly countries but despite unprecedented level of deterioration prompting media war on newspapers or satellite channels, and the fiercest of all is the war transpiring on social communication media platforms.
This crisis has attracted pitiful methods of engagement that promotes hatred between brethren, let alone the complicated situation witnessed at a time when the region is going through critical developments in political and military aspects, in addition to civil war in the Levant and Iraq, Yemen and other parts of the Arab world.
Furthermore, the region is facing a major interference by some major regional countries, which warrants the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to stay united by overlooking differences to be able to properly maneuver its way out of the danger lurking around.
The objective of this article is clear, our friendly countries should decisively deal and implement the law on anyone who transgresses and offends the entity of our country or its personalities, which is tantamount to what we do to our people when they cross the line in this regard.
Nonetheless, we have come to know that our government has filed lawsuits against some media personalities and Twitter users in the friendly country for offending and dishonoring our country and its personalities.
The move comes at an appropriate timing to cement the concept that entails everyone to bear responsibility for their action in accordance with law.
Constructive criticism is healthy and welcomed but it should not cross the line that distinguishes defamation from criticism, given that freedom and liberty are deemed a moral responsibility before anything else, and this entails stopping unwarranted insolence.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi