A decision taken by Kuwait’s information ministry to suspend a TV presenter has caused uproar on social media.
The decision was taken a few days after MP Mohamed Hayeef complained that Kuwait TV channel one presenter Basima al-Shammar called her male colleague “handsome” on air and during live coverage of the country’s municipal elections which took place last weekend.
Footage from the video which went viral on social media, shows the presenter trying to alert her colleague, Nawaf al-Sharraki, that he was on air after she spotted him adjusting his traditional head garment.
“Nawaf, you don’t need to adjust your head garment, you’re handsome as is,” she is heard saying.
The TV presenter confirmed to Al Arabiya that what happened is normal. She added: “What happened is not a joke or something else. It is well known that the customs of communications in the Gulf, is that when you see someone adjusting his attire, you tell him: you look good or handsome… that is what I told him you don’t need to adjust your head garment you look handsome, meaning your attire looks good, and you are in good shape, and we’re waiting for you to report the news.”
She said she does not know the reason for the fuss and speculation between supporters and opponents on Kuwaiti social media
Shammar added: “there was a tweet by one of the parliament members asking Kuwait TV how a presenter can utter such words on a state-owned channel?”
Basima confirmed that she has been suspended from her job.
In turn Nawaf al-Sharraki clarified that the suspension decision has been given verbally to his colleague by the ministry of Information, praising her professionalism.
He said he did not hear the word “handsome” and that is why he did not reply to her as he was not adjusting his head garment but was actually fixing his headphones.
He said when he left work and went to a coffee shop he came to notice what was happening on social media, and then family members and friends started calling him up.
Sharraki said he expressed his opinion in a tweet praising his colleague “who is modest and kind and one of the best media personalities.”