The Ministry of Information was established in Kuwait since the country gained its independence in 1961. It was headed by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the current Amir of Kuwait, three times during the whole history of the ministry's work (early 1960s, 1971-1975, 1981-1985). Kuwait's Ministry of Information includes television and radio network with a staff of journalists.
The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), founded in 1976, according to its chief executives, is an independent news agency funded by the government and supervised by the Ministry of Information. The KUNA delegation headed by Chairman of the Board and Director General Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Sabah has recently visited Kiev in order to sign an agreement on cooperation with UKRINFORM. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Sabah has kindly agreed to a short interview.
- What do people in Kuwait know about Ukraine? Is there some difference in views of officials, business persons and ordinary people?
- People in Kuwait can have various views on Ukraine, but mostly, we know that Ukrainians are very peaceful people.
- What sources do the Kuwaiti media use when covering the events in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine?
- You know, there are private and official media in Kuwait. Private ones may use other media and journalists' publications as sources. But we in Kuwait News Agency, as the official agency, use our correspondents inside the country and correspondents abroad, and official sources. We don't take our news from anyone. The sources should be official.
- KUNA has correspondents in Brussels, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Istanbul, Ankara, and Moscow. Do you cover events in Ukraine and Eastern Europe from your news bureau in Moscow?
- Bureaus in Austria, Germany are covering events on this region too. Generally, we are intending to expand our correspondent network in Europe. We have the ambitions to reach all people and cover all the events in all countries. We send our correspondents to "hot spots". Currently, our correspondents cover events in all countries in the Arab World, US, and Japan.
- So, how many correspondents do you have at the present time?
- We have about 20 bureaus in the world, and various freelance correspondents in as many as 35 capitals and major cities.
- In what languages does KUNA provide news coverage?
- Arabic and English. We are planning to add Spanish and French in the near future.
- Do you think KUNA is one of the strongest agencies in the region?
- Other people should evaluate this, and others say we have good position.
- How often do you make news stories about Ukraine?
- I can't tell you this precisely because our editors are the ones who know better about this matter.
- In your opinion, what information about Ukraine will be interesting for Kuwaiti people? What can help Ukraine to become more known in the Middle East region?
- People in Kuwait are open, they like to travel and discover other countries. And I think that Ukrainian people and government should tell other people about opportunities in their country, the strong points of Ukraine.
here is a lot to discover in Ukraine: health centers, tourism , investment projects, hotel business, development of beach infrastructure, etc. Ukraine should present its resources to other countries. This is the task of the Ukrainian media, that is, to reach people abroad.
At KUNA, as a rule, we have the initiative to tell people about us and the situation in Kuwait. We don't expect people to come to us and ask about us, we make the first step. We do a lot of efforts on this direction, including the organizing of international media conferences. Concerning the cooperation with Ukraine in the information sphere, we in Kuwait are open, we see no problems with the Ukrainian government or people. We are very friendly to other nations.
- Kuwait is among top countries in the Middle East when it comes to freedom of press according to the American non-governmental organization "Freedom House." How do you keep the leading position in media freedom in your country?
- Our constitution in Kuwait guarantees the freedom of speech. And our government and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah supports the freedom of speech, as well as the freedom of media. The legislation of Kuwait guarantees the right for expressing critical opinions in the media, but at the same time, it lays down some rules. For instance, one can express critical view on the work of a person but not the person him/herself.
- What about covering the activities of opposition?
- We have the regulatory framework and rules for covering the activities of the opposition.
- Does a strategy of information security exist in Kuwait?
- I wouldn't say there is a strategy of information security. We have the strategy to guarantee the safety and fluency of information for the citizens of Kuwait without any misinterpretation.
- Is it your first visit to Ukraine, Kiev?
- What's your impression?
- It's a very quiet and very nice city. People are very friendly, kind, and welcoming. We thank UKRINFORM for the invitation and opportunity to see Ukraine.
Natalia Kostina, UKRINFORM.