Al-Jazeera speaks out over law suit

The host of Al-Jazeera's Opposite Direction show has spoken out over a law suit filed against the station by Kuwaiti lawyers. The lawyers claim the show defamed Kuwait, but it will not affect Al-Jazeera's programming, he said.

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By  Philip Fenton Published  February 13, 2002

In reaction to the Kuwaiti law suit against Al-Jazeera, Faisal Al-Qasim, compere of the offending programme, told Digital Studio magazine that the station will continue to broadcast the controversial show.

The row stems from last week’s episode of Al-Itijah Al-Muakis, or Opposite Direction, hosted by Al-Qasim, in which Egyptian researcher and writer Sayed Nassar and Kuwaiti writer Nabil Al-Fadhl discussed the attempts of Amro Mosa, general secretary of the Arab League, to solve the problems between Kuwait and Iraq.

“It is a live programme – whatever you say goes out live on air, said Al-Qasim. “The Egyptian guest was very critical of Kuwait and its historical role in the Middle East. He accused Kuwait of being not a real state and he said things I don’t agree with. He accused the Kuwaitis of being the Jews of the Gulf.

“The Kuwaiti was very angry and said to him, ‘let the Arab world go to hell’ and I am translating that in a very beautiful way.

“I heard that three or four lawyers are going to lodge a law suit, but yesterday I heard they are going to withdraw this and the syndicate, or the union of lawyers in Kuwait is going to sue us: the whole union against us.”

When asked if the law suit would affect future programming, Al-Qasim replied: “definitely not. We are quite used to it: I would say the programme is the most controversial in the history of the Arab media. We have had problems with nearly all Arab countries.”

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