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Story Publication logo June 11, 2020

Government Transparency in the Times of Coronavirus

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A family walks in Hamra, Beirut. Stores and restaurants are closed due to the Covid-19 virus. Image by Hassan Chamoun / Shutterstock.com. Lebanon, 2020.
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An Arabic-language news podcast by Sowt Podcasting, focusing on COVID-19 in the Middle East and...

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Kuwait streets and highways empty and deserted from curfew in efforts to manage the coronavirus pandemic. Image by Mbhaila / Shutterstock.com. Kuwait, undated.
Kuwait streets and highways empty and deserted from curfew in efforts to manage the coronavirus pandemic. Image by Mbhaila / Shutterstock.com. Kuwait, undated.

When discussing access to information, Arab countries are not typically considered to be transparent. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, government communication channels have become the main sources of information. While generally lauded for their quick response, some experts believe that the state of emergency has increased governments' suppression of the media.

Are authorities taking advantage of the situation to block and control news? What are the alternative tools and methods for journalists to check facts? How does the pandemic impact freedom of the press in the Middle East and North Africa regions?

In this episode of Almostajad, we host Fadi Al-Qadi, an expert of human rights and media in the Middle East, who clarifies the consequences of monopolizing information sources by governments and how governments have resorted to techniques of feeding stories to friendly media.

Also, we talk to Sheikha Al Bahawid, a law specialist and the editor-in-chief of the independent website Al Manshoor, who describes the official narrative in Kuwait, and what it tries to ignore.

This episode was hosted by Abir Kopty, written by Mahmoud Alkhawaja, and edited by Tayseer Kabbani. Research for this episode was conducted by Rawan Nakhleh. The executive producer of Almostajad is Ramsey Tesdell.

To listen to the full episode in Arabic, click here.

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