Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Jordan
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2008|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Jordan, February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5679c1e.html [accessed 27 November 2014]|
The prosecutor's office in the northwestern town of Ain al-Basha charged Khaled al-Khawaja, a reporter for the leading pro-government daily Al-Rai, with assaulting a public security officer, according to the journalist's lawyer. The officer, Mohammad Qudah, filed his complaint after al-Khawaja accused him of assault, the journalist's lawyer told CPJ. Qudah and two other public security officers insulted and severely beat al-Khawaja while he was on assignment covering the municipality's distribution of meat to impoverished residents of Ain al-Basha in late January, the lawyer said.
An amended press law took effect in May, increasing fines tenfold, to a maximum of 20,000 dinars (US$28,000), for "defaming any religion protected under the constitution," "offending the prophets," causing "insult to religious sentiments and beliefs, fueling sectarian strife or racism," or committing "slanders or libels," Agence France-Presse reported. Parliament considered but did not act on more extensive use of prison penalties. Journalists can still be imprisoned under Jordan's penal code.
Four public security officers assaulted Aubaida Dammour, a reporter for Al-Ghad TV, and Fady Ramhy, a cameraman for the fledgling station, while the journalists were attempting to cover a bus drivers' strike in Jordan's capital, Amman, in early April, according to the Jordanian human rights organization Arab Archives Institute. The officers forcibly seized and destroyed Ramhy's camera and briefly detained both journalists. The station filed an official complaint with the Public Security Directorate.
Authorities banned the April 30 edition of the weekly Al-Majd, Fahd al-Rimawi, editor of the paper, told CPJ. He said that security agents intervened because of a front-page story about a "secret plan" devised by the United States and unnamed Arab parties to oust the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Later that week, al-Rimawi reached an agreement with authorities to place the story on an inside page, he said.
On April 18, the Jordanian government seized a taped Al-Jazeera interview with former Crown Prince Hassan bin Talal. Al-Jazeera's Ghassan Benjeddou told CPJ that intelligence officers stopped his producer at Amman's Queen Alia Airport and confiscated the videotape of the interview. In the interview, Hassan spoke critically of Saudi Arabia and U.S. policies in the Middle East, Benjeddou said.