AMMAN — Jordan’s press yesterday blasted a Spanish court’s decision to jail for seven years the Madrid correspondent of Doha-based Al Jazeera satellite channel. The verdict was designed to “quell free Arab media” that sought to divulge US crimes in the region, the Jordanian critics said. “The unjust verdict passed (Monday) by a Spanish court against Taysir Alouni reflected the trend of retaliation, not only against Alouni because of his reports that exposed US crimes in Afghanistan, but also against Al Jazeera channel which has been targeted by Western quarters for alleged encouragement of terrorism,” journalist Fahd Al Kheetan wrote in an article in Alarab Alyawm. “The decision is also indicative of an upcoming campaign for quelling the remainder of free Arab organs,” he added. Al Kheetan expected the Spanish verdict against Alouni to be ”employed by US quarters in the coming days for condemning Al Jazeera TV itself in a bid to force the Qatari government to shut down the channel as a professional and independent media establishment and ensure it joins other pro-US organs in the region”. The pro-government daily Al Rai expressed astonishment over the Spanish ruling, which it said “cannot be defended” taking into account the evidence provided by the Spanish court. “Alouni’s conducting of an interview with Osama bin Laden particularly after the September 11 attacks cannot be considered an absolute evil, but rather an achievement as far as the concept of Press freedom is concerned,” the paper said.
[Article] The thing about freedom of speech, freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom of the press is that it either does not exist in Spain or it doesn’t apply to Arab journalists, or it exists and it does not apply to journalists that are part of a news network that is not pro-western. Either way, with some getting jailed in foreign countries and others targeted by bombs, it’s a tough time to be an Arab journalist. Funny though, wasn’t Spain part of a coalition that went to Iraq to "bring" all the aforementioned freedoms there? Funny still is how when you can’t catch Osama Bin Laden for bombing your subways you evidently catch the next best thing…some guy that interviewed him. It’s a good thing Taysir Alouni’s parents didn’t name him Osama when he was born. Now that would’ve just been silly.