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Decision to prevent distribution of newspapers faces opposition

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‘Media sticks to stringent health steps’

KUWAIT CITY, May 14: The government, during its extraordinary meeting last Friday, was not happy with its decision to ban the printing and distribution of newspapers, as a medical precautionary measure, even though many newspapers adhere to the highest levels of health requirements as part of their responsibility towards their readers.

This decision reminded the media personalities of an official post on the Twitter account of the Cabinet, which came as a clear reaction to an interview broadcasted by one of the associate channels.

This raised dozens of urgent questions in this country of freedoms that is not used to such decisions, at a time when most of the local newspapers play their role to the fullest.

The government tries to encapsulate its decision to prevent direct TV interviews under the medical and health cover. However, the outrageous timing of its reminder, which came after criticisms of masks and others, revealed that the intentions behind this decision are questionable.

According to observers, it was more beneficial for the government to stress on the application of health controls during the conduct of interviews, rather than hasten to take a decision to cancel them, in a manner that shows there are pressures on the work of the media with attempts to direct them.

This is especially since media plays a major role by highlighting the faults in public matters, evaluating them, and proposing analyses and reports that help government agencies correct their mistakes. The government can hold the perpetrators of misinformation through clear laws in the traditional or electronic media.

They stressed that all the media in the world carry on with their work naturally and conduct direct interviews, after implementing the same health controls that were applied by the Kuwaiti media to prevent the transmission of infection.

They asked the government, “What is the wisdom behind canceling the distribution of newspapers instead of imposing health controls on them?! What is the goal behind preventing direct TV interviews, especially since there is a large section of the public waiting for some educational programs that host doctors and specialists to talk and explain the ways to confront the COVID- 19 outbreak?” It is no secret to the followers that these absurd decisions coincide with the heightened tone of popular discontent concerning the decisions recently taken by the government to confront the coronavirus crisis, starting with the expenses that some ministries adopted to confront the pandemic, while the state – belatedly – decided to impose a total lockdown.

This occurred when some countries started to ease the restrictions they had imposed to curb spread of the virus and began adapting with it.

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