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Appears in Collections:eTheses from Faculty of Arts and Humanities legacy departments
Title: The effect of online journalism on the freedom of the press: the case of Kuwait
Author(s): Dashti, Ali A.
Supervisor(s): Haynes, Richard
Keywords: Online Journalism
Freedom of the Press
State of Kuwait
Issue Date: 11-Nov-2008
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Online journalism has brought new features of journalism practices for local journalists and forced the expansion of their freedom. The Internet as a whole became the tool for freedom of expression for many suppressed countries, and online journalism became an alternative for press freedom in cyberspace. The diffusion of information enabled more opportunities for freedom of expression and speech prosperity, leading to a higher level of freedom in local press. This research project aims to examine the effect of online journalism on the freedom of the local press in the state of Kuwait. Since mid 1990s, when the Internet was introduced in Kuwait, a new phenomenon of press freedom started to rise. After many decades of relying heavily on local newspapers and controlled radio and TV, many Kuwaitis switched to the Internet to obtain information, news and political analysis. The political dispute of power after the death of Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jabber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on 15 of January 2006, followed by the public demand to change the electoral constituencies voting system of the National Assembly, and the dissolving of the National Assembly in May 2006 forced many Kuwaitis to go online to get the latest news and analysis regarding the two issues. Kuwaiti online journalism became the source for instant updated information during the disputes. Many local writers praised their work on local press. Mohammad Abdul Qader Al-Jasim, a columnist and former editor in chief for Alwatan local newspaper, in his online Web site ‘Meezan’, provided non-censored detailed analysis of these situations without any restrictions or fear of government interference which was considered as a taboo “red line” no one was permitted to cross. The researcher used three different tools (survey, online content analysis, and interviews) to determine the effect of online journalism on journalist’s practices and the freedom of the press in Kuwait, focusing on the most popular Kuwaiti personal writers’ sites, weblogs and forums. The results show that online journalism affected journalist’s practices but did not replace the traditional practices. The Internet became a source and communication platform for many local journalists. At the same time, online journalism became one of the tools that helped increase the level of freedom in the local press. The language of online journalism took a different direction from the local press with more freedom to write, discuss, and share ideas online with less fear of government retribution. What was considered a taboo “red line” in the local press became an acceptable “green line” online. Local press officials recognized this effect on the local freedom, but disagree on the factors that really caused the freedom of the local press to increase.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Department of Film and Media Studies

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