Al Jazeera’s Bureau in Kuwait closed by Kuwait’s Ministry of Information

Press release
Published December 26th, 2010 - 04:01 GMT
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera Network denounces the decision by Kuwaiti authorities to close its Bureau in Kuwait, to withdraw the Bureau's license, and to ban its journalists from reporting from the country.

The closure came on Monday after a statement from Kuwait's Ministry of Information accused Al Jazeera of interfering in the country's internal affairs. The statement also cited that the Ministry tried to contact Al Jazeera's offices several times over the phone to discuss the alleged interference. Al Jazeera acknowledges that its bureau chief in Kuwait had received a call on Friday December 10th, from the Ministry of Information at which time the Ministry threatened to close the bureau if the Network went ahead with its broadcast of a live interview with Musallam Al-Barrak, a Kuwaiti member of parliament, on Al Jazeera's Mubasher channel. The Network refused to give in to the threat and proceeded with the interview in accordance with Al Jazeera's policy of giving voice to all sides of a story.

In response, Kuwait's Ministry of Information attempted to block the airing of the interview by stopping the transmission of the interview. This left Al Jazeera with no choice but to conduct the interview with Mr. Al-Barrak over the phone. In addition, despite Al Jazeera's request, the Kuwaiti government failed to provide spokespersons to appear in the same program alongside Mr. Al-Barrak to give the government's point of view.

Al Jazeera condemns the closure of its bureau in Kuwait and rejects the charge of interfering in the country's internal affairs, asserting that its coverage of Kuwait has always been balanced, giving representatives from across the Kuwaiti political spectrum the chance to freely and fully express their views. Al Jazeera will continue to report on Kuwaiti affairs with balance in compliance with its code of ethics and journalistic standards, and will continue to be a platform for "the opinion and the other opinion". 

Background Information

Al Jazeera Network

Al Jazeera started out more than fourteen years ago as the first independent Arabic news channel in the world dedicated to providing comprehensive television news and live debate for the Arab world. Al Jazeera was formally named the Al Jazeera Network in March 2006, transforming its operation into an international media corporation.

The Al Jazeera Network now consists of the flagship Al Jazeera Satellite (Arabic) channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al (the English and Arabic web sites), the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile.

Al Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, is headquartered in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The organisation is the world's first global English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. From this unique position, Al Jazeera English is destined to be the English-language channel of reference for Middle Eastern events, balancing the current typical information flow by reporting from the developing world back to the West and from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The channel aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate, and challenge established perceptions.

With broadcasting centres in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC and supporting bureaux worldwide, the channel will set the news agenda, bridging cultures and providing a unique grassroots perspective from under-reported regions around the world to a potential global audience of over one billion English speakers. The station broadcasts news, current affairs, features, analysis, documentaries, live debates, entertainment, business and sport.

Building on Al Jazeera Arabic channel's ground breaking developments in the Arab and Muslim world that have changed the face of news within the Middle East, Al Jazeera English is part of a growing network that is now extending this fresh perspective from regional to global through accurate, impartial and objective reporting. 

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