Dubai Sports TV host and pundits convicted of defaming rival Abu Dhabi channel

The host of the live show Radar and two analysts were convicted after criticising the rival channel for monopolising the broadcast of the Arabian Gulf Cup and encoding the channel.

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ABU DHABI // The host of a Dubai Sports show and two sports analysts have been given three-month suspended sentences each by the misdemeanour court for defaming Abu Dhabi Sports.

The host of the live show Radar and two pundits were convicted after criticising the rival channel for monopolising the broadcast of the Arabian Gulf Cup and encoding the channel.

They reportedly accused Abu Dhabi Sports of profligacy and having a reckless attitude towards the audience’s desires, while giving examples of expensive, irrelevant shows on Abu Dhabi Sports.

The trio were also accused of reporting false news about Abu Dhabi Sports to turn the public against it, in addition to revealing confidential agreements made by the channel’s parent company, Abu Dhabi Media, without its consent.

The misdemeanour court found their language offensive and said it contained “phrases that mean to insult the channel and put it in a position of contempt”.

In addition to the suspended jail sentence, the court referred the Dh201,000 compensation case to the civil court for investigation.

The presenter and pundits were also accused of publishing statements on Twitter to influence prosecutors’ investigation process, however, the court cleared them of that charge.

Two of the defendants had also applied for a temporary compensation of Dh21,000 from Abu Dhabi Media, publishers of The National, but the court rejected their claim.

Throughout the trial, the defendants denied they had insulted the channel, arguing that they were discussing an issue of public opinion without using any insulting words.

The verdict is subject to appeal.

hdajani@thenational.ae