USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)

First Advisor

Major Professor: Bernardo H. Motta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David Snyder, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Deni Elliott, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

March 23, 2018


This legal comparative study aims to explore how the U.S. and Kuwaiti legal formants, such as legislators and judges, achieve balance with individuals' reputational rights and freedom of speech and the press. It also examines the factors contributing to their differing views about defamation and free speech limitations. The law-in-context method and the Theory of Legal Formants were applied to achieve the study objectives. Traditional, religious, and historical factors have made significant impacts on Kuwaiti laws. The results show some contradiction between the laws as written, as interpreted, and as applied in the country. The first step in reforming these laws is to remove the vagueness and breadth in some articles that provide unnecessary governmental control over speech. To survive the 21st century and cope with a world of publication without borders, Kuwait and the governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) must reform their defamation laws to allow more freedom of speech and of the press. There are several benefits to this study. First, it helps international media organizations and journalists to improve their work methods by providing them with the necessary information about the limitations of their free speech rights in Kuwait and the United States. Second, the study contributes to the process of constructing a common legal understanding that better supports information and media exchange among societies. Third, it could serve as a reference for journalists, publishers, and media organizations that are planning to produce or publish media content in the U.S. or Kuwait.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Art in Journalism and Media Studies Department of Journalism and Digital Communication College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.