KUWAIT CITY, 19 October 2004 — Kuwait’s Minister of Information Mohammed Abu Al-Hassan has suspended a weekly newspaper for three months because of political content it published, newspapers reported yesterday.
However, the editor-in-chief of the controversial Al-Shaab (the People) newspaper, Hamid Buyabes, said that he had not yet received official notification of suspension, and was planning to publish the newspaper’s fourth issue by early next week.
“Nobody has officially informed me, in writing or otherwise, to stop. I found out about the suspension in the news, just as you did,” he said. Kuwait’s Ministry of Information decided to suspend the weekly because it violated a provision of its license to publish only social and cultural news and not political news, Abu Al-Hassan was quoted by Al-Siyassa newspaper as saying.
The minister said Buyabes had been warned several times about the newspaper’s content. Al-Shaab violated rules of areas of specialization granted to Kuwaiti newspapers, the minister told Al-Qabas newspaper.
“I am not quite sure which story in my newspaper supposedly made government officials angry. It could have been one of many. I think that the Kuwaiti government, in general, is afraid of what Hamid Buyabes writes in his newspapers. I write the truth,” Buyabes said.
If Buyabes were told to officially halt publishing for three months, it would be the second time the state has punished him for material he has written in the media.
In 2002 Kuwait’s Ministry of Information closed his newspaper, Al-Democratia, because of controversial political stories it published, he said.
Al-Shaab’s third, and latest issue featured a cover story about a questionable Ministry of Defense spare parts contract for the Russian-made infantry fighting vehicle, BMP-2.
Also in its second issue, Al-Shaab featured a cover story about the spare parts contract.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah said yesterday two Kuwaiti militants have been killed in fighting against US forces in Iraq.