By Sana Ajmi | Oct 10 2012british newspaper , defamation , Ennahdha , Robert Fisk , second-featured
The British newspaperÂ The IndependentÂ published an apology yesterday toÂ Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisiaâ€™s Ennahdha party for an article it published on August 28.
The article, written by Robert Fisk, quotedÂ Walid Muallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister under President Bashar al-Assad, as saying that theÂ Emir of Qatar, Hamad ben Khalifa Al Thani,Â issued orders to pay Ennahdha US$150 million to help Ghannouchiâ€™s party in the elections.
“We wish to make it clear that Mr Ghannouchi and his party have not accepted any donation from a foreign state in breach of Tunisian party funding laws. We apologise to Mr Ghannouchi,” said the statement.
TheÂ article, entitled, â€œWe believe that the USA is the major player against Syria and the rest are its instruments,â€ was theÂ first interview thatÂ Assadâ€™s Foreign Minister gave to western journalists since the Syrian conflict began.
On August 30, Ghannouchi denied the accusation and threatened to take legal action against the paper.
â€œRobert Fisk is a respectable man, but in his article he published false news. These are serious accusations, and we are going to sue the newspaper for publishing that,â€ said the Ennahdha leader.
Tunisiaâ€™s Ennahdha party won the countryâ€™s first elections in October 2011, after former dictator Zine el-AbidineÂ Ben Ali was ousted from the country in January of the same year. Since the elections, Ennahdha has governed the country in coalition with two center-left parties â€“ the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.