Kuwait court keeps pro-oppn TV off the air

January 10, 2013 - 2:55:52 am



KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s lower court rejected a petition by pro-opposition private television channel Al Youm on yesterday against its closure by the government last month, the channel’s lawyer said.

“We have not seen the reasons for the court’s ruling. We plan to file an appeal against the verdict in the coming few days,” Nawaf Sari said.

The information ministry ordered the station taken off the air on December 20 citing administrative irregularities. It also withdrew the station’s licence.

The ministry later explained that the station had failed to meet a two-month deadline to appoint a full-time Kuwaiti manager.

Sari described the ministry’s decision as “politically motivated” and the pretext as baseless.

“Al Youm is the only television station that promotes opinions opposed to the government ... and the ministry found the opportunity to shut down the station by citing untrue administrative violations,” he said.

The station has broadcast programmes sympathetic to the opposition and interviewed many of its leaders in the run-up to a December 1 parliamentary election it boycotted. Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition groups, angry over an amended electoral law they said was designed to produce a rubber-stamp assembly, have since been holding almost nightly protests demanding the dissolution of the new parliament.


Turkey agrees on peace plan with PKK: Reports  


ANKARA: The Turkish government and jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan have agreed on a roadmap to end a three-decade-old insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, media reported yesterday. The deal was reached during a new round of talks between Ankara and Ocalan and aims to have the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) lay down arms in March, private news network NTV and Radikal newspaper reported.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government recently revealed that Turkish intelligence services had for weeks been talking to Ocalan, who has been held on the island prison of Imrali south of Istanbul since his capture in 1999. During a visit to Niger yesterday, Erdogan warned the government would uphold its tough line on the PKK: “I repeat again, our fight with the terrorist organisation will continue.”

“Terrorist organisation ranks need to lay down weapons and withdraw from Turkey,” before further steps can be discussed, he said. Under the reported peace roadmap, the government would be expected to reward a ceasefire by granting wider rights to Turkey’s Kurdish minority, whose population is estimated at up to 15 million in the 75-million nation, according to unofficial figures.