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Kuwait royals to be quizzed over TV station attack

Private TV station accused of insulting royal family.

October 20, 2010 9:08 by

Kuwaiti prosecutors have called two members of the ruling family for questioning in connection with a mob attack on a private television station, the men’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

The mob were objecting to comments made on a Scope TV talk show that they deemed insulting to the al-Malik branch of the royal family.

Attorney Abdul-Mohsen al-Qattan said that Scope TV was accusing Sheikh Faisal al-Malik al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to Jordan, and his brother of being among the crowd that ransacked the station’s offices.

“Sheikh Faisal has already said he was there to calm the crowd,” Qattan told Reuters, adding that his brother had not been involved.

Station officials said some of the crowd were armed with pistols and knives and that they beat up station employees, injuring 10 of them.

Fajr al-Saeed, the owner of the television station, said Sunday’s attackers had been looking for her and her brother, who presents a talk show on the channel.

She told Reuters on Sunday that the Information Ministry had accused her of attempting to overthrow the government following the broadcast of Scope’s satirical comedy show “Sawtak Wasal” (“Your Voice Has Been Heard”).

On the subsequent talk show, her brother appeared to accuse a senior official at the ministry, who is also a member of the al-Malik branch of the ruling family, of being behind these accusations against her, she said.

The government has accused Scope TV of insulting the ruling family, but has also denounced the attack on the station.

Kuwait, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, has a vibrant media culture and generally allows more press criticism of public officials than other Gulf Arab states.

Members of the royal family are not above the law and have been prosecuted.

However, Kuwait’s ruler is protected from criticism by the constitution, and defamation cases against newspapers, writers and bloggers are common.

(Reporting by Diana Elias; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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