Dubai: The Dubai Misdemeanours Court has dismissed defamation charges levelled against XPRESS editor Mazhar Farooqui by the CEO of a children’s talent hunt agency in the US.
On May 25 last year, XPRESS published a cover story following a police complaint filed by a Pakistani actress and TV presenter against the agency’s CEO, whom she accused of assaulting her teenage daughter during a casting session in Dubai the previous weekend.
The actress, who recounted her experience with XPRESS journalists who happened to be at the event, filed a complaint at the Al Barsha Police Station where the American producer was also summoned. In her complaint, she said her 14-year-old daughter was bruised and badly shaken. She even produced a medical report to support her claim. The actress later shared all the details with Farooqui at the Gulf News office.
“My client [XPRESS Editor] was only doing his job and had not violated the law at any stage”
- Mohammad Salman, lawyer
Subsequently, however, a defamation case was filed against Farooqui, who was accused of shaming the producer by publishing details of his private life.
When questioned by police and prosecutors, Farooqui admitted to publishing the report and being present during the talent show. However, he maintained that the name of the producer and that of his company were never disclosed. His lawyer Saad Mohammad Salman argued that everything reported in the article was based on the police complaint and that the editor did not have any criminal intent in its publication. “My client was only doing his job and had not violated the law at any stage,” he said.
Presiding judge Ayman Mohammad Abdul Hakam acquitted Farooqui on the basis of insufficient and unsubstantiated evidence.
As Gulf News reported, the judge’s order said, “The abuse incident happened in a public place [hotel that hosted the talent show] and in front of an audience. It didn’t happen in a private or confidential place. Besides, the editor did not publish the claimant’s name or that of his company. The actress wanted to have the abuse incident published and so she visited the suspect [editor] at his workplace and provided him with all the required details and documents … her name and photos were published and she was seeking further fame.”