Kuwait targets dozens of media outlets amid political tensions

Kuwait targets dozens of media outlets amid political tensions
2 min read
Kuwait has announced the withdrawal of licences and legal action against dozens of media outlets in the country
The outlets were targeted for alleged violations including "spreading false news" [Getty]

Kuwait announced Wednesday the withdrawal of licences and legal action against dozens of media outlets amid political tensions that saw the country's parliament dissolved.

"The licences of 90 online news sites have been withdrawn and 73 media outlets have been referred to the state prosecution over the past two weeks due to violations of the law," the information ministry said.

The outlets were targeted for alleged violations including "spreading false news", an official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to comment on the subject.

Also Wednesday, Kuwait's crown prince said that parliament would be dissolved and called for new elections within months as disputes escalate between the legislature and cabinet.

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Kuwait enjoys relative press freedom compared to other Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, with around 530 licensed news websites, but has seen occasional media crackdowns.

The latest move aims to "prevent the violation of laws regulating (the media) or degeneration into media chaos," the information ministry said on Twitter.

Kuwait has been shaken by disputes between lawmakers and successive governments dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family for more than a decade, with parliaments and cabinets frequently dissolved.

Wednesday's political moves came as 21 opposition MPs were on strike in the parliament headquarters over delays to legislative sessions and the failure to form a new government.

The cabinet, the fourth to be formed in two years, resigned in April, three months after it was sworn in, but has continued to act in a caretaker capacity.

The oil-rich emirate is the only Gulf Arab state with a fully elected parliament, which enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.

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