Bahrain to sue British paper over protest articles

Gulf kingdom accuses the Independent of defamatory media campaign during crisis
Bahrain to sue British paper over protest articles
Bahrain has accused the Independent of a defamatory campaign
By Reuters
Wed 15 Jun 2011 08:31 AM

Bahrain said on Monday it would sue the British newspaper the Independent, accusing it of "defamation and a premeditated media campaign" against the Gulf Arab kingdom, which quashed weeks of protests earlier this year.

Nawaf al-Mawada, of the Information Affairs Authority, told Bahrain's state news agency (BNA) the kingdom had hired a UK-based firm to pursue legal action against the paper.

"The Independent has deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", Mawada, the acting director of press and foreign media, was cited as saying.

The newspaper said it did not have an immediate comment.

BNA said Mawada specifically pointed to Independent articles by the well-known Middle East journalist Robert Fisk as part of what he called "orchestrating a defamatory and premeditated media campaign against both countries".

Fisk's most recent article, published earlier on Tuesday, lambasted Bahrain's trial of doctors facing charges ranging from incitement, to stockpiling weapons, to taking over the country's main medical complex.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers quashed democracy protests this year, led mostly by the country's Shi'ite majority population, after imposing emergency law and bringing in troops from neighbouring Sunni-ruled Gulf countries. It lifted emergency law last week, and called for talks with the opposition next month.

The government accused protesters of having a sectarian agenda and backing from Shi'ite power Iran, just across Gulf waters, charges the opposition denies.

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