The government of Bahrain claimed yesterday to have commissioned a UK-based law firm to file a case against The Independent for its reporting on the crackdown on protests in the country.
Nawaf al-Mawada, a representative of the Information Affairs Authority, told Bahrain's state news agency that the action was being taken because The Independent had "deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". A correspondence from the Information Affairs Authority to The Independent cites an opinion piece by Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, in which he criticises the Bahraini government for putting 48 surgeons on trial, as being "based on slanderous hearsay". It also claims that "using columns, features and news to publish misinformation in repeated attacks on our people and rulers amounts to libel and will be treated as such in accordance with the law".
At least 31 people have died in demonstrations against the 200-year rule of the Al Khalifa family, which began in February.