A court in Kuwait has reversed a decision by the commerce and industry ministry to suspend the publication of Al Watan newspaper, allowing the daily to appear in the local stands on Thursday.
The paper had its licence revoked last month by the ministry on the grounds that its capital had dwindled to below the levels allowed by the new company law. Sources said that the newspaper, launched in 1974, had suffered severe financial blows and that its capital was less than the KD 500,000 required to obtain or keep a licence for a daily in Kuwait.
Abdul Mohsin Midaj, the minister, had warned Al Watan and other companies that they were facing the revocation of their licences if their capitals continued to slide below the required levels.
However, the paper challenged the decision and a court on January 28 ruled to freeze the decision until it looked into the case. The ruling on Wednesday to allow Al Watan to publish was greeted with great fanfare by its owner, staff and supporters.
Three camels were slaughtered to celebrate the “vindication” of the newspaper. Al Watan was suspended last year in April for two weeks after it breached a gag ordered by the public prosecutor on publishing information in a highly controversial leaked tape.
The information ministry one week earlier asked all print, audio, visual and electronic media to comply with a gag order imposed by the public prosecutor in the case of the tape reportedly containing conversations allegedly referring to toppling the regime. In July, the licence of Alem Al Yawm was revoked by the Kuwaiti authorities after the daily “no longer met some of the terms and conditions for obtaining a licence” and the daily ceased publication.