Defamation case against Kuwait daily dismissed

Prosecution highlights freedom of press to inform, educate

Kuwait’s Public Prosecution has shelved a lawsuit filed by the health ministry against a local daily over a report published in September.

In the report, Al Rai said that a hospital in Kuwait refused to carry out a surgery for a Syrian child who was already in the operating theatre unless his family paid 3,000 Kuwaiti Dinars in fees.

The child’s father reportedly confirmed that his son had been taken out of the theatre and said that he had not been informed about the fees before the operation.

However, the health ministry dismissed the report as untrue and although the daily the next day published the documents supporting its claims, it insisted on filing a lawsuit for defamation. 

The ministry in its complaint said that the report published by Al Raiincluded inaccurate information and insulted its employees.

The ministry added that Al Rai through its article targeted the health staff and attempted to discredit it by claiming that it was biased and discriminatory in the provision of its medical services.

 

Public interest

However, the Public Prosecution responded that the press is obliged to publish news of interest to the public and informing it about local and external issues in addition to contributing to its awareness and education.

“The press and freedom of publication help the people reach the truth and avoid making mistakes,” the Public Prosecution said, Al Rai reported on Sunday.

The prosecution added that the report published by the Kuwaiti daily and posted on its website was merely an account of a particular event, a statement of the actions taken, and the administrative errors that occurred and their consequences.

The account did not attribute the facts to a particular person whom the reader can recognise from the words and phrases used by the journalist, the prosecution added.

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