The administrative court yesterday said that decisions by the ministries of commerce and information to revoke the commercial and media licenses of Al-Watan newspaper are in line with the Kuwaiti law, thus rejecting a petition by the daily against the government. The court said in its ruling that shutting Al-Watan is legal and is not related to freedom of press and speech, adding that the daily violated the commerce and information ministries laws and as a result its closure is legal.
The commerce ministry decided on January 18 to revoke the commercial license of the newspaper for failing to meet the minimum capital requirements as a commercial company. The information ministry then followed the decision by another revoking the media license of the daily to prevent it from printing. Under the commercial law, companies which lose more than 75 percent of their capital will have their licenses revoked.
Al-Watan’s lawyer Rashed Al-Radaan said he does not know the grounds of the ruling because the commerce ministry has no right to revoke the license of a shareholding company. He said on Al-Watan electronic website that he will study the details of the court verdict before filing an appeal to the court of appeals. After the appeal, the case is expected to go to the court of cassation whose decisions are final. The lawyer insisted that the new ruling does not have any impact against an order by the emergency judge that Al-Watan must be allowed to resume publication until a final court ruling is issued.