It all started in 1450 when Gutenberg invented the printing press. It’s 557 years later and the latest draft for the Press And Publications Law in Jordan has seen very few changes since it was put on the debating table a month ago to resolve the biggest contradiction quite possibly in Jordanian legislative history. Or at least one of the more absurd ones.
Article 30 of the draft law states essentially that journalists cannot be imprisoned for what they say. Splendid.
But it goes on to say that other legislation should also be observed. What this means essentially is: under this new law a journalist cannot be jailed but actually…yeah…wait…he can be jailed under other laws that allow for the imprisonment of journalists. There are currently 24 such related laws.
There are moments when I think, really, what’s the point? Can’t we just call it a ball game and all go home?
Anyways over a month has gone by with no attempt to resolve the contradiction.
It’s 2007. There’s the Internet, blogs, newspapers, satellite TV with 500 news channels. You would think we’ve reached a point in our history when throwing people in jail for their criticisms has become obsolete.
Another debate is nearing an end: how big of a raise to give public servants. It’s gone from 20 JDs to an expected minimum of 12 JDs which is enough to buy very little. The total expected cost is 90 million JDs, which is to be carried on the budget.
In all honesty public servants make some of the lowest wages in the country and while 12JDs may be a very, very small raise, it is money well spent.
In contrast: the government just took a loan from the Social Security fund for 100 million JDs.
To build embassies and homes for ambassadors.
UPDATE: The Social Security fund (the government) has defended the loan by essentially arguing it would save the country money in the long run as it costs the Foreign Ministry 3.5 million a year to rent embassies and homes for ambassadors.
So in about 29 years, when my generation is close to retirement, the Foreign Ministry will have broken even. Whether the fund will still be around is up for grabs.