Jordanian IAF Rejects Law Restricting Freedom of Expression

Zaki Bin Arsheed, the Secretary General of Islamic Action Front (IAF) declared that the party rejects the amendments introduced by the parliamentary national direction subcommittee to the publishing law after it enforced maximum penalties against the freedom of expression and maintained jailing journalists for expressing their views.

He said in a statement today that maintaining” what restricts the freedom of expression hinders reform, has a negative impact on the progress of the country, and confirms the increasing influence of those attempting to stop the political progress”. 

Mr. Zaki said that the party is “concerned with the results” related to “threatening the freedom of expression”; therefore the IAF ” opposes any penal texts whether they are introduced to the publishing law or to any other law”.

He saw that” reinforcing public freedoms, particularly press freedoms, is a cornerstone for continuing any serious reform”, calling on the government and the House of Representatives to” reject these maneuvering that negatively affect the government and MPs’ credibility in seeking a positive change”.

“Punishing on any one who expresses his views, whatever the method, will certainly lead to restricting the freedom expression and will also decrease the constructive positive criticism that distinguishes civilized societies” he said.

Bin Arsheed confirmed that MPs Taysir Al Ftiani and Nidal A- Abbadi, who belong to the IAF and are members in the national direction committee, disagreed with the decision of the committee in this regard because” the Islamic Action Front backs giving way to the media freedom that spawns progress and democracy in the society”, and he said in this context that the party” will continue pressing for blocking this government distorted bill which was ratified by the stated committee”.

Bin Arsheed said:” We consider this as a necessity”, as it is a basic factor in the process of democratization; any retreat in this field may signal another retreat in the process of democratization, something that may negatively affect the political arena and distort the image of Jordan on the Arab and international levels”.

Bin Arsheed that the results in parliamentary national direction committee violate ” the royal decrees and government commitments which are always stressing on respecting the freedom of expression and they violate human rights charters as well”.

Bin Arsheed pointed out that” Feeling safe while expressing views” isn’t a demand for only journalists or media men, but it is a public national right for all citizens and a principle that steers the contemporary democratic life”.
The IAF leader noted that the latest amendment” maintains the jail sentence and increases fines and adds more restrictions on freedoms, totally contradicting itself when reading the reasons given by the government in the prelude of the bill”.

Bin Arsheed hinted that the articles mentioned in the publishing law” that totally oppose the government’s reasons for amending it “, signal ” the stage of hollow  slogans that we are witnessing”; this is because” any government slogan about reform stirs fears among the elites lest it- the government- seeks opposite targets through exploiting the hollow slogans of political development and reform as merely a cover”.

He said this approach ” is wrong and may lead to people’s losing trust in the governments”, in a way that may rattle the prestige and moral authority of the country”.

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