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Press freedom reports

Kuwait is seen as one of the freest media environments in the Arab world. Kuwait ranks 73rd in Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Commenting on the new press law, the annual Reporters Without Borders report notes that “decriminalization of press offences, announced as the key innovation, was watered down by many exceptions, such as undermining Islamic law and offending God, the Prophet and his aides. These offences are dealt with under criminal law, which still allows imprisonment for them.” Similarly, the Freedom House Map of Press Freedom observes that “Kuwaiti journalists are among the freest and most outspoken in the region, with a constitution that provides for freedom of the press under Articles 36 and 37 and a government that respects these principles in practice, with some important exceptions. The Printing and Publications Law and the penal code restrict criticism of the emir and articles that might harm relations with other states, jeopardize the value of the Kuwaiti dinar, or offend moral sensibilities. In addition, the law restricts material deemed offensive to religion or an incitement to hatred or violence. The government arbitrarily enforces these laws, and as a result many journalists practice self-censorship.”

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