KUWAIT: Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) marks the 47th anniversary of its establishment on Friday by restating its commitment to delivering its professional and responsible media message, maintaining credibility and objectivity, and keeping abreast of cutting-edge technology. Since it was founded on October 6, 1976, Kuwait’s official news agency has been striving to revamp its media services, boosting its national staff’s capabilities, establishing its regional and world status, and highlighting Kuwaiti issues and activities at home and abroad.
KUNA was established under an Amiri decree with the goal of gathering and generating news for distribution to individuals and media institutions, providing them with news reports in an objective and unbiased manner. In March 1978, KUNA started local transmission for six hours per day and doubled it in June to 12 hours and then 16 in October, while Arabic transmission was launched in November 1978 for three hours before increasing broadcasting time to 12 hours a day. In November 1979, the agency launched a special bulletin for Kuwaiti embassies abroad, providing news services to 38 embassies and consulates.
In January 1980, KUNA began local transmission in English for four hours a day, increasing it to eight hours a day in February 1981. It then boosted English local and foreign broadcasting hours to nine and four a day in January 1982. During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Iraqi army forces seized the agency’s equipment and archives and sent them to Baghdad. However, thanks to its national staff, the agency managed to re-operate and transmit its news reports in October 1990 through its office in the British capital, London.
The agency had reported a total of 16,110 news stories until November 1991. Following the liberation of Kuwait in February 1991, the agency returned to its main headquarters in Kuwait on November 15 of the same year. It was honored to broadcast the liberation news, with its cameramen having documented the country’s devastation caused by the Iraqi occupation forces. In 1992, it began to depend on a network of its correspondents in Arab and foreign capitals, covering Kuwaiti main events and activities abroad.
The agency invented a new trend in 1992 for choosing the year’s personality, whether an individual or institution, as a model for others to follow in view of serving humanity, spreading peace, and achieving a better life for humanity. The agency then launched its SMS news service in 1994 in a bid to deliver local, Arab, and world news stories to subscribers through its phone number, 120, round the clock. Out of its belief in the significance of staff training, KUNA launched a media training center in 1995 with a view to upgrading the capabilities of media staff in both the public and private sectors, along with Gulf media figures.
On March 31, 1997, the late Kuwaiti Minister of Information, Sheikh Saud Nasser Al-Sabah, inaugurated the new building of the agency in Kuwait City’s Shuwaikh area to commence a fresh shift in its developed services. Having launched its website to cope with media technology, the site came second on the list of the best government sites in Kuwait in 2006. In 2011, KUNA announced a new service giving people access to its news stories in both Arabic and English through social media, and in 2012, a new website covering news and informative services as well as photographic archives was launched.
The agency, further, began in 2014 to publish a quarterly magazine highlighting Kuwait’s major events, ancient and modern facilities, development plans, and future projects. In the same year, KUNA Al-Sagheer, a children’s periodical, was published at the advent of the new school year in a bid to boost children’s media knowledge. Furthermore, a French bulletin was launched in 2018 as part of KUNA’s plan to develop its news services, while its Arabic and English sites were updated in order to keep abreast of internet technological advancement.
In 2016, the agency won the best Arab news agency award from a Lebanese newspaper thanks to its credible and objective coverage of local, regional, and international events. In 2018, it was also given the Sharjah Government Communication Award. Since its inception, the Kuwaiti agency has committed itself to promoting and developing its relations with media organizations from different world countries. In 2000, KUNA joined the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) and effectively participated in a summit of world news agencies in Moscow in 2004.
Last May, Kuwait News Agency launched its space on the Spatial Metaverse platform, the first step of its kind amongst news agencies in the region. On May 4, it launched its first virtual news anchor. Barjas Al-Barjas was the agency’s board chairman and director general from 1976 to 1992. Youssef Al-Sumait held the post between 1992 and 1998. Mohammad Al-Ujairi took over from 1998 to 2006. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Sabah was appointed chairman and director general between 2006 and 2018, while Dr. Fatma Al-Salem has taken the helm since November 9, 2022. – KUNA
Source : Kuwait Times