After months of political turmoil concerning his tenure as Minister of Information, Mr. Mohamed Al-Sanousi (picture) has resigned (see Asharq Al-Awsat and Safat Square).
Even though Mr. Sanousi is a cultured, shrewd and charming gentleman – as well as a liberal who was always vocal in improving Kuwaiti infrastructure and development – he was an unfortunate catalyst in impeding the freedom of the press and democratic ideals here. Whether that was his choice or not is irrelevant; if it was the latter he should have resigned on principle if he truly believed in freedom of the press.
One would have hoped that he would continue the great work done by former Minister Mr. Anas Rushaid in disbanding the ministry but not only did he not continue the work, he reversed course and attempted to salvage the Ministry. Under his watch, most of the licenses given to new newspapers were allocated only to ‘high profile’ entities; he attempted to block the ‘5 for Kuwait’ satellite stations; he ordered (then retracted the order) sending a journalist from ‘Al-Siyassah’ to court for publishing information that was common knowledge everywhere in Kuwait, among other issues.
His repeated defiance of National Assembly members vise a vise the “Quizzing” (i.e. “I am ready, I will make the MP’s bite their nails”) only added fuel to the fire.
Nevertheless, as much as I may have disagreed with some of Mr. Sanousi’s actions in the Ministry, he deserves our sympathy. He has obviously been through much personal and professional turmoil (i.e. his ‘Showbiz’ B.O.T. being cancelled) and the man deserves some relief and peace of mind.
The beast of burden is the Ministry of Information; it is the entity threatening to eradicate any knight attempting to traverse through its wall of flames. No one will leave the ministry intact, a high price will be paid.
It really is time to break the ministry (the way Qatar did a *decade* ago): the television is sub par, the news is weak, the censorship bureau is unwilling to adopt a ratings system for the cinema, sticking to a 30 year old antiquated code and the foreign press bureau or press attaches would be better served under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among other observations.
Like its equally unappealling sister, the Ministry of Education, the Info Ministry will always be at the center of a tug of war between the Government and the Islamists – it is not worth fighting for. Shut it down once and for all. That way we can avoid future 6 month continuous “quizzing” threats paralyzing the system here.
And besides, no democratic state – at the very least, a state with a Parliament and a Constitution – should harbor a Ministry of Information.