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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Kuwait bans anti-Bush documentary
Michael Moore
Moore's film has sparked controversy across the world
Kuwait has banned Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, calling the film insulting to the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Authorities in Kuwait, a US ally, also objected to the film's criticism of America's invasion of Iraq.

"We have a law that prohibits insulting friendly nations," said Abdul-Aziz Bou Dastour of the Information Ministry.

The controversy over Fahrenheit 9/11 has helped it break box office records for a documentary.

The film, which won the Cannes Film Festival, was the first documentary to make $100m (54.5m) in North America.

It criticises President George Bush for being unprepared for the 11 September attacks and using propaganda to gain public support.

The Saudi royal family also features, along with claims that Saudi nationals were allowed to flee the US in the aftermath of 11 September despite the country's airspace being closed.

'Failed research'

Abdul-Aziz Bou Dastour said the film "insulted the Saudi royal family by saying they had common interests with the Bush family and that those interests contradicted with the interests of the American people".

He added: "The movie made Iraq look like a paradise whose problems started with the American invasion. It would have angered Kuwaitis."

Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to London, has said Moore failed to carry out proper research for the documentary.

He said the film "criticised America's policy on invading Iraq and this was tantamount to criticizing Kuwait for [what it did] to liberate Iraq".

The state-owned Kuwait National Cinema Co had applied for a license to show Fahrenheit 9/11 but its request was turned down by government censors.

It is showing in other Middle Eastern countries including the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

Meanwhile, a US newspaper is seeking a token $1 in damages from Michael Moore and the film's distributor, Lion's Gate, for allegedly doctoring its front page for the documentary.

The Pantagraph newspaper, based in Bloomington, Illinois, said the film included a shot showing a front page headline "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won the election" that never actually appeared on page one.

It said the headline only appeared in much smaller type on the letters page which reflects "only the opinions of the letter writer".

"If [Moore] wants to 'edit' The Pantagraph, he should apply for a copy-editing job," the paper said.


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