Jordanian court passes jail terms on journalists for offensive article
A Jordanian civil court handed down jail terms of three months each on five newspapers journalists, including two prominent editors, for an article considered as offensive to the court and for slander as well.
Four of the journalists of Ad-Dostour and Al-Arab Al-Yawm newspapers, including their chief editors, were charged after a complaint by the Higher Judicial Council for contempt of court for publishing a commentary on a ruling it passed on the nationality
The fifth journalist of Al-Rai, Abdul-Hadi Al-Majali, received a similar three-month jail sentence for defamation after publishing on the Web a commentary that criticised a Jordanian official.
It is noteworthy that the Jordanian journalists have been campaigning for years to issue a law for the abolition of prison terms for publishing offences, and the Jordanian Parliament have previously endorsed a controversial press and publication law that slaps heavy fines and prison terms for press violation as slander and religious defamation.
One step forward, and two steps back!
Yahia Shoqeir, chief of freedoms committee in the Jordanian Press Syndicate, condemned the different violations practiced against Jordanian press, saying that the freedom of press in Jordan is moving only one step forward and two other steps back.
Adding that Jordan’s Foreign Ministry have sent a reply to the Human Rights Watch organization (HRW) confirming that Jordan has made many steps forward concerning freedom of speech and press, stating that prison terms for journalists have been abolished from the press and publishing law.
Shoqeir commented on the Foreign Ministry’s statement published last month saying that the ministry should better retreat her reply.
It all aims at oppressing Jordanian people
Zaki Bin-Arshid, secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front Party (IAF) in Jordan , commented on the ruling saying that such similar court rulings aim at continuing the feelings of fear and terror among Jordanian citizens.
Adding that the recent Jordanian surveys have proved that more than 80% of Jordan citizens fear being imprisoned if they expressed their views freely opposing government policies. Therefore, Bin-Arshid believed that such procedures by the Jordanian government would increase the state of anger and oppression among the Jordanian citizens and weaken the internal front of Jordan because of the absence of freedoms, besides the economic and social problems the country faces.
Bin-Arshid saw the ruling as a clear indicator for the retreat of all Human Rights freedoms, including freedom of press and expression, in Jordan . And therefore the retreat of democracy in the country ruled by police and State security rather than real democracy and law.
Noteworthy, the Jordan Press Association condemned the ruling yesterday saying in a statement that it was “prone to have a negative impact on the freedom of the press in the kingdom.”