The application of censorship in Kuwait corresponds not only to the mandated laws surrounding freedom of speech but also the capacity to exercise a set of norms that are influenced by culture and religious beliefs of the people. My interview of a female magazine editor of “Blink Magazine” offers insights of not only how this process remains to be applied in print media but also characterizes specific processes that influence these areas accordingly. Here, as a young professional editor (27 years of age) and a Kuwaiti national, she shares her view on how censorship becomes an everyday process during the interview at her Kuwait office.
Q: Describe your work environment in relation to censorship laws applied in your country
A: Our work environment remains to be professional. The idea of applying censorship is all part of the responsibility of each worker here in ‘Blink Magazine’. Regardless of our position, we are expected to follow set of rules that are necessary in order to stay in business.
Q: What are the laws of censorship that your company executes?
A: Blink Magazine addresses the specific mandates and regulations that the Ministry of Information imposes. Though there are no apparent screening processes, we still have to abide to specific guidelines in the manner that we print and publish articles in the magazine.
Q: What is the process behind censorship in your company?
A: Like any publishing company here in Kuwait, we create specific responsibilities wherein each individual from the writer to contributor has to address in order to establish easier means to check and identify common areas that can be classified for censorship.
Q: Why do you censor? What do you censor?
A: The idea of censorship here in Kuwait corresponds to both the application of traditional customs and beliefs of the government and the effort to protect our religious views and morals. Given our field, Blink Magazines often sensors specific ideas and features that may hamper or create contrasting views to what majority of the society adheres to.
Q: Who does the censoring?
A: Again, the censoring process goes from one contributor upwards to the editor. Though the overall decisions still remains with the editor-in-chief, collective responsibility is given to each participant in the writing, editing, and proofreading process.
Q: What improvements showed when censoring?
A: I think significant improvements have been seen in the way address their specific responsibilities. Here, every contributor undergoes the process of balancing their tasks to inform, educate, or persuade readers but at the same time taking into consideration the set of norms associated with the Muslim culture and religious traditions.
Q: What are the pros and cons of your company’s censorship?
A: I think one pro of Blink Magazine’s application of censorship corresponds to the ability to continue our business operations without having the ability to be questioned. At the same time, it also fosters the opportunity to become professionals in their own respective way. However, the cons of censorship revolve around the limited ability for writers and contributors to express their views on specific issues and the ability to leave their opinion to themselves.
Q: What are your intentions of censorship?
A: My intention for applying censorship of course is to retain my job. Since I am an editor of this company, I need to make sure that the articles that are to be published meets not only our standards but the state as well. Without this, it can create problems on our end and our ability to control our people.
Q: What have you achieved?
A: From my perspective, I believe I have achieved the competency to become effective and address my goals and targets efficiently. Having a set of rules and norms to follow creates better means towards improving my craft and taking into account following the mandates of the Kuwaiti government concerning censorship.
Q: How has technological changes (internet) change censorship in your company?
A: Indeed technological changes happening nowadays provide challenge on our part because the Kuwaiti government is adjusting to these trends and allowing censorship to apply. However, since the internet remains to be free and open for all, there are times that some propaganda and information leaks out. On our part, it is our responsibility to address these accordingly especially if the write-ups came from our magazine.
Q: What are the patriots’ views of Kuwait and censorship towards your company/product?
A: From the government’s end, our company had received specific questions on some issues we sought to publish. But not too much fuss. Rather, it is more of explaining our views and how it applies to the nature of writing and engagement.
Q: What are the Islamic implementations of censorship towards your company & products?
A: Here, we specifically abide with the Sharia Law concerning publishing sensitive issues concerning religion. At the same time, we also make sure that the ideas and features we provide coincide with the morals and duties of how a man and woman should live. Due to this, we have to adjust our contributions accordingly especially if it applies to specific issues related to religion or fundamental Muslim beliefs.
Q: What kinds of research methods did you do concerning censorship?
A: If by research methods you mean laws, we try to become constantly updated with new laws and mandates concerning censorship and then incorporate it within our business rules and regulations.
Q: How do you personally feel about the censorship in print media?
A: For my part it’s totally alright. I had been part of this scenario for years and I believe it has pros and cons towards the perception of the people. Regardless of this, it is the norm that I had lived through all these years and I believe that such capacity won’t change overnight. Rather, it will undergo a continued cycle of changes, acceptance and tolerance.
Q: How do you see censorship in print media and in Kuwait 10 years from now?
A: I believe that the norms and practices will remain to be the same. Though there are current challenges today and questions the ability to practice freedom of expression, the government will try its best to meet the needs of the citizenry without sacrificing totally its morals and values. Here, I think that it all comes down to what is most important for everyone.
To conclude, the interview highlights how the process of censorship applies in print media. It takes into account how business entities such as these utilize existing mandates and rules to create their own specific standards in complying with censorship in Kuwait. Here, the value of religion, morals, and traditional values all play a part in the formulation of what needs to be printed and provided towards readers. Though there may have been challenges nowadays brought about by technology, the Kuwaiti government remains firm in its stance to protect its interests and the principles it has implemented in years. Such dynamics then indicate how censorship becomes applied from the state level down to the perspective of an individual living in the country.