EDITOR OF KUWAIT TIMES SPEAKS ON PRESS CENSORSHIP AT AWARE CENTER
By Kevin Stoda
On June 10, Jamie Etheridge, the Texas-born managing editor of the KUWAIT TIMES
http://www.kuwaittimes.net/ , one of Kuwaits 3 major English daily newspapers, led a diwaniya at the AWARE CENTER where she focused on censorship in the Kuwaiti press. Etheridge, who arrived in Kuwait from Texas in 2004, also writes for STRATFOR and the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR.
Etheridge began the diwaniya, a Kuwaiti word for meeting whereby a speaker talks from fifteen minutes to half an hour on particular topic. This sort of diwaniya is then followed by open comments and questions from the audience. (Diwaniya also means a particular place for regular meetings held by various families or tribes in the area.)
PROBLEMS WITH CENSORSHIP
Concerning censorship in Kuwait, Etheridge noted that there are three main forms or sources of censorship. These are (1) journalist’s self-censorship, (2) difficulties in persuading sources to go public, and (3) adverse pressures from advertisers--or from advertising in general.
Etheridge began the discussion be stating: “The greatest problem journalists face here in Kuwait is self-censorship. This is particularly true for Arab journalists who are pretty aware of how writings will affect certain communities in Kuwait.” This refers to how families, tribes, and well-connected personages will respond to any particular article or report.