WE nicknamed our Ministry of Information as the ‘Ministry of Jalaal Al-Din Al-Rumi’ after one of its senior officials issued an order to prohibit the thinker Al-Rumi from delivering a speech at the Kuwait (Ban) Books Exhibition years ago.
The official and his assistants missed the fact that the unique thinker they were barring from giving a speech died centuries ago, but his enlightening thoughts and ideas continue to frustrate influential individuals among Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist fundamentalists here in Kuwait (only).
The objective of the official was to avoid infuriating individuals and groups that promote outdated ideas through this decision which is unprecedented globally.
We saw how the current officials in the Information Ministry censored artistic and literary works – whether visual, audio, written or sketch works. I am not exaggerating when I say this censorship bonanza affected even sketch works.
One of the outdated fundamentalist MPs in our Parliament recently lashed out at a caricature.
Indeed, this is how intellectual, cultural and academic levels deteriorated in the era of those who are in charge of our laws and decisions in the executive and legislative authorities.
The latest creation of the ministry is its decision to establish a children’s television channel in the coming months and this is happening in the 21st century – in 2019.
According experts, children aged two to 10 years old these days are not watching various television programs like we or the children in past decades used to do.
Today’s child is glued to his phone or iPad. Even when eating, we see children being eager to go back to these devices which we have been tempted with.
These devices could be a blessing and a curse at the same time; blessing in the sense that various devices such as telephone, computer, radio, television and games are combined in a single palm-sized device which we can put in our pocket when we are no longer using it.
However, the device is also a curse in the sense that it has prevented us from having direct communication with our families, friends and loved ones. It has preoccupied us such that we no longer read, watch television, follow radio programs and many other things we did in the beautiful days of the past.
The millions of dinars which will be spent on the new children’s television channel will unfortunately go to waste just like other hundreds of millions that went through corruption tunnels and unnecessary spending.
I advise the information official who issued or is convinced with this idea of a children’s television channel to rethink and review his decision. He should contemplate ideas published by young experts and other relevant opinions regarding unfeasibility and failure in advance.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil