On Nov. 3, Kuwaiti officials closed the local offices of pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, alleging that the network's coverage of recent Kuwaiti events lacked objectivity. These events include four recent incidents in which gunfire has been directed at American forces inside Kuwait, one of which resulted in the death of a Marine.
But how do Kuwaitis view Al-Jazeera, the channel that they -- like the Lebanese, Jordanians, and Saudis -- told the 2002 Gallup Poll of the Islamic World they are most likely to watch first when they want to catch up on world affairs?
More than half the kingdom's residents (54%) say they regard Al-Jazeera's news coverage as "objective" -- the highest level of objectivity accorded any of the 16 local, regional, and global channels tested on this measure.
How do Kuwaitis rate the objectivity of their own national network? Only about one in five Kuwaiti residents (19%) told Gallup they thought the state-run Kuwait Satellite channel is objective. Even those holding formal Kuwaiti citizenship -- less than half of the kingdom's 2 million permanent residents -- are nearly twice as likely to describe Al-Jazeera as objective as they are to describe Kuwait's own state-run channel that way (48% vs. 25%).
A complete analysis of Al-Jazeera's standing in Kuwait will be featured in the Nov. 12 edition of Gallup Tuesday Briefing.