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Dissolving Information Ministries - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Kuwaiti minister of information took up his post after graduating from university. He was not politically active, and had no political aspirations despite his father being one of the most prominent members in the Kuwaiti parliament since the seventies. The minister, however, has made significant political changes, the most remarkable of which is the new press law, which he had fought for in the cabinet. The new law included restricting governmental control of newspapers and allowing for court appeals in case of disagreements between the government and the press, paving the way for the founding of new newspapers.

The second and courageous step that the law presented to the cabinet was to dissolve the ministry of information and transform it into smaller specialized institutions, and if this law is passed, it will represent a huge advance in the field.

Arab ministries of information are used as tools for totalitarian regimes to control the media and public opinion, as well as to propagate for their own causes or desires. It is for this reason that the official state media becomes a mere puppet for the ruling body and in fact, is completely distinct to private media. It is also for this reason that these ministries were extravagant, rich and given an equal status to the ministries of interior, defense and foreign affairs. Such ministries of information were successful in killing the spirit of innovation and thinking of the audience. Criticism of public issues was absent from governmental media institutions which are pre-occupied with blindly, irrationally and unfairly praising the achievements of the government.

The entire world is turning to private media. Therefore, the use of satellite has become widespread and the audience of Arab state media has minimized significantly. If Arab state television was not providing entertainment in the form of soaps, then nobody would show any interest in these channels due to the distrust of state media.

The step taken by the Kuwaiti minister of information to dissolve the ministry requires issuing a law that will allow for private media in all its forms. The apprehensions surrounding such a step are unjustified. Time has proved that honesty prevails, and despite the annoyance that came with the rise of satellites, the audience gradually moved away from state media as it had lost its credibility. The important point here is that we should not fear the new as it may reap more benefits than the old.