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Cablegate: Portrayal of the War in Kuwait's State Media

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS KUWAIT 001147

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/PPD, JGAFFNEY; NSC FOR MDUNNE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL OPRC OIIP KWWW IZ
SUBJECT: PORTRAYAL OF THE WAR IN KUWAIT'S STATE MEDIA

1. After months of public hedging and equivocation for the
benefit of the media and the Arab League, the GOK has come
out in strong support for the war on Iraq, and Kuwaiti
public opinion is following its lead. Embassy has received
hundreds of calls expressing support from ordinary Kuwaitis,
many of whom are leaving floral bouquets and letters at the
embassy gate, and editorials overwhelmingly support the US
and coalition attack. Not surprisingly, this perspective is
reflected in Kuwait's state-run media.

2. Kuwait TV (KTV) and the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) are the
only government-controlled media in the country, and offer
voluble support for coalition efforts. KTV, for example,
regularly refers to the campaign as "the war to liberate
Iraq." Illustrative of KTV's coverage is a series of
interviews with Iraqi refugee families in Jordan entitled
"Where Are We Now?" The families, living in squalid camp
conditions, tell the interviewer it is better than what they
experienced under Saddam's regime. KTV also has broadcast
several interviews with Iraqi opposition figures, and both
KTV and KUNA have focused in recent days on humanitarian aid
efforts in Iraq, including a Kuwaiti aid shipment and
assistance in extinguishing oil well fires in Iraq.

3. Although Kuwait's Arabic press is not government-owned
or controlled, the same pro-war sentiment is evident in
newspaper reportage and op/eds. Commentators harshly
criticize Arab states and publics for attacking the
coalition, and editorial opinion reflects bitterness that
Arab public opinion offers no sympathy for Kuwait as a
victim of Iraqi surface to surface missiles. In this
context, there is no ambiguity about where the majority of
Kuwaitis stand in terms of the war on Iraq, and no daylight
between official and commercial media on the issue.

JONES

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