Kuwait Culture

Kuwait Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Kuwait

According to MILITARYNOUS.COM, Kuwait is a country located in Asia. Newspaper distribution in Kuwait is high for the region (374 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). There are seven newspapers, five of which are published in Arabic and two in English. The largest are al-Qabas (the ‘firestorm’) with 80,000 copies. and al-Anba (‘The News’) with about 105,000 copies. The English Arab Times and Kuwait Times have editions of 40,000 and 28,000 copies respectively.

The state-owned company Radio of the State of Kuwait (founded in 1951) broadcasts radio in Arabic, Persian, English and Urdu in five channels, two of which (one Arabic and one English) broadcast all day. Kuwait State Television (founded in 1961) has four channels, two Arabic (one sports channel), one English and one entertainment channel in Arabic and English. Furthermore, an Egyptian channel is transmitted. Radio and television broadcasting is high with 624 radio and 486 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).

There has long been censorship for the media in Kuwait. In 1992, however, the press censorship ceased, while voluntary ethical rules were introduced. The state control of radio and television remains.


According to ANIMALERTS, old Bedouin traditions (Bedouin = Arabic nomad), such as beautifully woven patterned woolen fabrics, still leave their mark on the culture of today’s Kuwait.

The influence of Islam on the culture is great, as is evident in the many mosques.

Among modern buildings that are awe-inspiring are the Parliament, designed by Danish Jørn Utzon (also the author of Sydney’s famous opera house), and two groups of Swedish-built water towers.

On the island of Faylaka there are interesting archaeological remains, including from the Greek city which one of Alexander the Great’s generals had built there in the 300s. The find area is one of four places in Kuwait that is on the UN organization’s waiting list to be classified as a World Heritage Site.

In the capital Kuwait City there is a large collection of Islamic art housed in a private villa as well as a museum of Bedouin art. Other museums include one that is devoted to Arabic calligraphy.

Kuwait is the only country in the region with a theater tradition. Kuwaiti soap operas on TV are popular throughout the Arab world.

Saud Alsanousi received the Arabic Booker Prize in 2013 for a novel that touches on the conditions of the guest workers, but there are also active female writers. In 2014, Mai al Nakib was awarded an award at a book fair in Edinburgh for a short story collection on everyday life in the Middle East: “The Hidden Lifght of Objects”. Layla AlAmer’s debut novel “The Pact We Made” is about young women in Kuwait. The fact that books are often first published in English, by authors who are abroad, testifies to the conditions of modern authors: While a regular book fair is held, works that disregard the regime run the risk of being banned.



Court opens for election election

December 20

Two members, the Islamists Jamaan al-Harbash and Walid al-Tabtabai, are getting rid of their seats in parliament. They have previously been convicted of taking part in the storming of Parliament in 2011, when protesters demanded the departure of the Prime Minister. Like other convicts, they have both gone into exile to avoid serving prison sentences. The Constitutional Court now repeals an article in the regulations that prevented the invasion of others in their places.

Peace talks on Yemen in preparation

December 3

Foreign Minister Margot Wallström visits Kuwait, which has taken a mediator role in the war that is raging in Yemen. A rebel delegation from Yemen is ready for the UN’s planned peace talks in Sweden, states Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister. The rebels demand security guarantees for their peace negotiators.


Death Messenger strengthens ties with the United States

November 30

Kuwait is paying tribute to the late US President George Bush the elderly, including a light game in the capital. His efforts to liberate Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion of 1990 will not be forgotten, the official comment reads. It was Bush who initiated a US-led war that drove Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces away in 1991.

Rain exposes land mines

November 21st

The recent heavy rainfall has led to landmines that have remained since the Iraqi invasion of 1990. 18 popular campsites in the desert have been closed and campers are warned. At least 48 mines have been found and damaged. Iraq’s army occupied Kuwait at Saddam Hussein’s order. In 1991, the Iraqis were expelled by US-led forces. Although Kuwait has allowed miners to seek out 1.65 million mines laid out by the invasion forces, it is believed that there are 350,000 mines left.

Sports profile pressed by criminal charges

November 19

Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah withdraws from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until further notice. The reason is that he is suspected of forgery in Switzerland. He belongs to Kuwait’s royal family, has been a minister and held several top jobs in sports. Last year, he resigned from Fifa, the International Football Association, as a result of a US bribery investigation. He denies crime.

Flooding a danger in desert land

November 15

Rainfall has given Kuwait 96 mm of rain in a few days, the next as much as normal rainfall throughout the year. At least one person has lost his life trying to save his family. All air traffic has been canceled, buildings and roads have been flooded and vehicles have flown away because the drainage systems have not been able to divert water bodies. Storms have also caused problems in the autumn. Two senior officials have been dismissed and a minister has resigned, since the preparedness was considered to be substandard.


Turkey and Kuwait agree on defense plan

October 10

Turkey and Kuwait sign a joint defense plan for 2019 with the stated aim of increasing military coordination. The agreement says nothing about Turkish forces being placed or practiced in Kuwait, but such opportunities are also not ruled out. In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the agreement is reported to be disapproving. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait disagree on two common oil fields. From a Saudi point of view, it is also claimed that Turkey supports the Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood, which many of the Middle East regimes are suspicious of.


Protests against censorship of books

September 24th

More than 4,000 books have been blacklisted by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information over the past five years, according to local media. The titles include works by classic writer Victor Hugo and Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who just a few years ago was described as a literary giant in Kuwaiti press. Several demonstrations have been held ahead of Kuwait’s annual book fair in November. Only works that have been previewed by the authority may appear at the fair. No one has yet been charged with selling banned books.


Agreements should protect guest workers

May 11

Guest workers should be allowed to keep their passports and mobile phones, says a new agreement between Kuwait and the Philippines on migrant workers’ conditions. According to the news agency AFP, which has read the document, the employee must, among other things, be guaranteed health insurance. An employment contract should only be renewable if the Philippines approves it. The agreement between the countries sets the stage for the diplomatic crisis and the Philippines allows the country’s citizens to apply for employment in Kuwait again from mid-May.


Permanent stop for Filipino labor

April 29

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces that the ban on Filipino citizens being newly recruited for work in Kuwait should now be considered permanent. 60 percent of Filipino guest workers who are already in the country are employed in households, according to the Philippine Foreign Ministry. Duterte urges his countrymen to return to their home country or apply for a job in China.

Diplomatic crisis following rescue operations

April 24

The Philippines apologizes to Kuwait after it emerged that staff at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait helped guest workers escape from their employers. Videos published by the Philippine Foreign Ministry show escapes to waiting cars. The Philippines admits that such rescue operations have sometimes occurred without Kuwaiti police being involved or informed. Despite the apology, Kuwait announces the day after the Philippines ambassador has to leave the country and Kuwait brings home its own envoy from Manila.


Focus on migrant workers following Philippine ban

February 24th

A Philippine government delegation is visiting Kuwait to discuss a ban on Filipino citizens traveling to the country to work. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte introduced the ban after a Filipino woman was found dead in a freezer. Duterte has also offered Filipinos in Kuwait a free return trip. The woman who was a maid had been missing for more than a year when she was found, and is believed to have been subjected to torture. Her employers are later arrested abroad while in Kuwait they are sentenced to death in their absence. Even before the macabre discovery, Duterte has talked about travel bans and sharply criticized Kuwait for the unfair working conditions of migrants. The travel ban has consequences for Filipino families who depend on money from relatives who work abroad. In Kuwait, companies that rely on labor from abroad are facing problems. There are around 250,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait.

Kuwait Culture

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