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TRANSPARENCY is the order of any day, due to which the people in democratic countries are constantly informed about all that is transpiring in their country – from the top of the pyramid to the lowest executive institutions.
In those countries, there is an official spokesperson for the presidency of the republic, or the monarch, as well as a prime minister and all ministries. Every day, there is more than one press conference by each of these institutions. In times of crises, press officials remain in contact with the media around the clock.
The democratic practice has been developing for this reason, as these countries do not suffer from a crisis of communication between the officials and the people. This level of transparency is almost lacking in us.
Neither the Prime Minister nor his spokesperson informs the people about what is happening. The ministries are satisfied with a single statement every few days, which contains scores of flattery.
In light of this silence, rumors germinate and speculations blossom. For nearly three years, the country has been suffering from several crises, either in the relationship between the National Assembly and the government, or in the aspects of economy, health and educational affairs, or even concerning differences among some members of the ruling family.
However, no one goes out to people to inform and reassure them about the situation. This increases anxiety, as if that is what is meant, and it is the most dangerous thing that countries face.
Britain, for example, is today suffering from a governmental crisis following the resignation of Boris Johnson. Yet neither he nor the government spokesperson or the rest of the press officials have vanished from the scene. Thus, there are dozens of news articles published daily to increase popular confidence.
Likewise in the United States of America, there is a daily summary of the activities of the presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Internal Security. The same happens in France, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and many other countries that do not choose to settle with the news of daily protocol receptions, but rather inform their people of every event in the local scene.
On the other hand, in Kuwait, which claims to be democratic and transparent, we did not hear any statement from an official about what took place in the consultation meetings, for example, and what is being done to address the crisis.
For this reason, social media has turned into an indirect official spokesperson, recommending this or that. Considering what happened in recent weeks, after accepting the resignation of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and circulating the name of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Nawaf for the premiership of the Council of Ministers, the media turned into a popular yardstick. This nomination was negatively received. However, the name of Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sabah Al-Salem was met with a lot of positivity, even though the decision is up to His Highness the Amir.
This great popular comfort means that public opinion has its say, and therefore it must be listened to in the face of a crisis that affects every person in this country.
Irrespective of the outcome, it is necessary to be transparent in this matter and others. This is the principle of true democratic countries that are confident in the ability of their officials and institutions to manage the state.
Otherwise, it would mean more dispersion and separation. There is a popular saying – Silence is the best weapon – but in Kuwait, “silence” has reached its full extent because it is trampling with people’s feelings.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times