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Tue 2 Feb 2010 07:50 AM

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Court orders Al Arabiya to pay Saudi prince compensation

Arabic news channel fined AED100,000 for failing to screen interview with prince.

Court orders Al Arabiya to pay Saudi prince compensation
RULE OF LAW: The court found Al Arabiya TV to have failed to

Arabic news channel Al Arabiya TV has been ordered to pay AED100,000 ($27,230) in compensation for failing to air an interview with a Saudi prince.The Dubai Appeals Court ruled that the channel had failed “to abide to and respect the media code of ethics” when it did not screen the interview with Dr Saif Al Islam Bin Saud Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, UAE daily Gulf News reported. As well as the “symbolic compensation”, the channel was also ordered to pay court fees and AED1,000 towards lawyers’ fees. The primary judgment was appealed by both Al Arabiya and the prince, before the Appeals Court upheld it. According to the newspaper, Prince Dr Saif Al Islam had sought AED500,000 in moral and financial compensation.

In his lawsuit, the prince’s advocates said that: "The defendant's failure to broadcast the televised interview inflicted emotional, moral and social damage on the prince's status as a royal and academician. His fame was affected before his family, students and the social circles to which he belongs.” According to the newspaper, the court-assigned media expert reported that Al Arabiya was at fault by promoting and advertising the interview and choosing not to air it later.

The channel's lawyer countered the media expert's report by arguing that Al Arabiya is the interview's producer and copyright owner and as such had the full right as to the date of airing its own production works. The verdict is still subject to appeal before the Court of Cassation, the newspaper said.