Bahrain ex-editor fined for false reports

AFP and AP, Tuesday 11 Oct 2011

Award-winning editor fined for publishing 'fabricated' news during police crackdown on Kingdom's mass protests earlier this year

The former editor of a Bahraini daily newspaper said on Tuesday he has been fined by Bahrain's High Criminal Court for publishing false reports during a crackdown on Shia-led protests.

In an email sent to reporters, Mansour al-Jamri from the Al-Wasat newspaper said he and three of his colleagues were ordered to pay 1,000 Bahraini Dinars ($2,650) each after the court found them guilty of the charges.

Bahraini authorities accused Al-Wasat, a paper with close ties to the Shia opposition in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, of publishing "fabricated" reports and "false news."

The court also accused the paper of printing "fake names of people who claimed to have been abused by police," during the government's harsh crackdown on protesters in March.

Jamri, a former opposition activist during the Shia uprising of the 1990s, returned to Bahrain in 2001 under a royal pardon.

During his trial, Jamri's lawyer submitted "documents that proved that the source of the emails containing the fabricated news...all came from one single ISP address based in Saudi Arabia."

Jamri, who was suspended from his job at the paper in April, acknowledged having mistakenly published false information.

Last week, al-Jamri was among four journalists awarded press freedom prizes by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

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