Kuwait | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution provides for freedom of the press, and the media are free to scrutinize the government with some important exceptions. The Printing and Publications Law and the penal code restrict criticism of the emir and of relations with other states; material deemed offensive to religion; incitements to violence, hatred, or dissent; and news that affects the value of the national currency. These laws are arbitrarily enforced. Journalists commonly practice self-censorship in order to avoid being penalized under these laws. Broadcast media are government-owned, but access to foreign satellite stations is legal and widespread. A variety of privately owned newspapers exist. The government closed down the local offices of Arabic satellite television news channel Al-Jazeera after the station reported on U.S.-Kuwaiti military exercises. The government claimed that the report harmed the country's interests and that the station lacked professionalism and objectivity when dealing with Kuwaiti issues.