The Last Information Minister

7 Jul, '05

Anas Mohammed Al-Rasheed

Remember his name well, because it is a person with this vision and courage that is sorely missing in Bahrain at the moment.

Anas Al-Rasheed is the new Kuwaiti Information Minister, and his stated goal in his new position is to CLOSE the Ministry of Information!

Kuwait’s new information minister has a unique approach to a job that in many countries is little more that a propaganda tool for authoritarian leaders.

“My idea for improving journalism in Kuwait is the elimination of the ministry of information,” Anas al-Rashid told editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday.

Mr. Rashid said he took the information ministry position in April on the condition that the government eventually close the ministry, which has the authority to regulate the print media through mandatory licenses. The press in Kuwait is independent, but many journalists practice self-censorship to avoid breaking laws against challenging the authority of the emir or criticizing Islam.

and from Al-Sharq Al-Awsat

آخر وزير إعلام
هذا هو حلم الدكتور أنس محمد الرشيد وزير الاعلام الكويتي، الذي قال انه يساند فكرة الغاء وزارته ولتكتفي الدولة بتلفزيونها واذاعتها بلا وزارة تدير شؤونها.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat

In our lovely Kingdom however, the stark reality is that it seems that every Minister of Information we’ve had is hell-bent on destroying the country’s reputation in international circles, threatening everyone who dares to put pen to paper to criticise, or posts something that is a little off the party line on the internet and give them prison sentences and fines for their efforts.

Criticism is the best form of advice, the government is paying millions to consultants for advice, journalists are providing that advice free of charge!

Over the last few days (since the IAS was administratively closed) there has been various appearances of the Bahraini Information Minister in the papers essentially trying to legitimise the government’s attempts to silence opposition, shrouded in “nice talks” to the editors of the local papers to teach them the manners of dialogue and criticism. Which basically is: toe the line.

Time to learn from Anas.

The Bahraini Minister of Information re-iterated his ministry’s position to go ahead with website registration directive. This is the highest ranking official at the ministry who now supports this archaic move.

So as we see the countries around us (disregard Saudi from this statement) doing away with their ministries of information, ours continues to bolster its presence.

Why?

When the Emirates and Kuwait have private television and radio stations, our minister questions the feasibility (arabic) of allowing private stations to operate in Bahrain! Hello? Anyone knows how the Dubai Media City is doing? How many jobs did that generate, and how did it enhance Dubai’s name locally and internationally? How many businesses outside of the media sphere did it attract?

It’s all a jumbled up situation with absolutely no priority given by the government to effect real progress. We’re standing still, and have been for so long that virtually everyone has passed us in the world.

hat tip to iDip for his post on Anas Al-Rasheed.

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Comments (4)

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  1. anonymous says:

    The Last Information Minister

    Some excellent news for Kuwait, where the role of Information Minister is typically the target for the Islamicist’s verbal attacks, e.g. how dare he allow a concert from a leading Lebanese singer go ahead…

  2. E-man says:

    Mahmood, look what you have done to the man;

    “””The cabinet also said that Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has accepted the resignation of Information Minister Anas al-Reshaid who quit his job on Tuesday in protest at attempts to amend the constitution to hike the number of MPs.”””
    (Reuters)

    10 May 2006

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