CAIRO: Al Jazeera Network filed a law suit against Egyptian daily Al-Ahram accusing the state-run newspaper of publishing "false and damaging statements about the international news network and its management."
"Al Jazeera finds the allegations and fabricated information printed in Al-Ahram newspaper to be highly and grossly defamatory, wholly deceptive and journalistically unprofessional," read a statement issued by the Qatari-owned network.
The dispute was triggered by an article titled "Jazeerat Al Taharoush" ("Al Jazeera: An Island of Harassment") which accused senior managers at the network of sexually harassing anchorwomen and blackmailing them, leading to their resignation.
Senior officials at Al-Ahram’s legal affairs office told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, that there are efforts to put an end to the dispute on a friendly note.
"In case the friendly efforts fail we have our counter arguments ready; however, we will not reveal anything now," the source said.
"We want to preserve friendly ties with Al Jazeera, a reputable channel," Al-Ahram source said.
Al Jazeera cited defamatory remarks repeated by Atef Hazeen, a representative of Al –Ahram, in official statements made on several global satellite channels, as further reasons behind filing the law suit.
"The network plans to take legal action against Al-Ahram newspaper in multiple jurisdictions and has already commenced civil and criminal proceedings in the Egyptian as well as the UK Courts," said the statement.
The suit was addressed to Editor-in-Chief Osama Saraya, Atef Hazeen and the journalist who wrote the article Jihan Sharawi.
The hearings are slated to begin later this summer.
The statement said that the main purpose of this legal action is not aimed primarily at obtaining financial compensation; rather the key objective of the lawsuit is to ensure that professional standards are upheld and maintained at a high level throughout the journalism industry and that no news organization has the right to abuse these standards.