Jamil Nimri Talks To The King

It’s a scary time to be a journalist in Jordan these days. Working in the media sector, my feeling is that semi-independent media is making an attempt of becoming more liberalized, and the state response to such efforts has not been kind. It seems we are now leaving the era of the standard verbal harassment, state censorship and inevitably forced self-censorship, and into a darker realm of physical intimidation. It’s a scary time.

AMMAN – His Majesty King Abdullah has denounced a recent attack on a prominent columnist and TV host.

In a phone call yesterday with Jamil Nimri, a writer for Al Ghad daily and a host of a political talk show on Jordan TV, the King said journalists’ safety is a “red line…We will not accept that they be assaulted”.

“His Majesty told me that he instructed the security apparatus to investigate and uncover the assailants and those supporting them,” Nimri told The Jordan Times later in the day.

Expressing his appreciation for the King’s gesture, Nimri said it carried a direct message to those who would think of assaulting journalists for doing their job. He pointed out that Prime Minister Nader Dahabi also called him last week and assured him that a police taskforce was working on the case to arrest the culprit.

Last week, an unidentified assailant attacked the journalist with a sharp tool at the latter’s doorstep. The columnist suffered a superficial wound to his face. According to Nimri the attacker jumped into a car where two people were waiting for him, and managed to escape.

In a previous statement to The Jordan Times, Nimri did not rule out that the incident was related either to his TV show or to articles he wrote in his newspaper. [source]


  • Perhaps it wasn’t an attack on Nimri for his being a journalist. Maybe it was a personal vendetta type of thing.

    And yes, things are becoming alarming with regards to press freedom in Jordan.

  • Tololy: Nimri is a popular name in the industry, one of the reasons this particular attack was widely reported and quite possibly the main reason for it being denounced.

    I can’t say the same for everyone else that works in the same field.

  • I agree. One editor told me certain elements have disliked my writing so much that they wanted to put ‘special pressure’ on me to avoid topics like sexual abuse and domestic worker violence. Another said writing about such things can almost be interpreted as breaking press laws, if they were strictly enforced. And I am not anything like Nimri, but if it is like that with a tiny player like me, imagine for the biggees.

    What has been your experience?

  • I don’t know what is the suitable emotion right here: Laugh or cry? It can go both ways and still make sense!

    Our salvation lies in spontaneous combustionm, what an awsome thing if it could happen to some people here and there..

    BTW, and this is off topic: What happens to you in jordan when you get fired from your position as the president of jordan university? They reward you for your corruption with becoming the president of the hashemite university!

    Ahh, the ranch mentality..

  • “Sometimes, in order to really move forward, we need to put ourselves in harms way.”
    does that include even knowing that you will be physically harassed, perhaps jailed or even murdered???
    i disagree with you ArabianMonkey. Position and stance both should be negotiated if one is really going to be put in a harmful state. I am not saying that certain issues should be avoided by a journalist in order to guarantee safety, but as an advocate of a certain truth (be it whatever), a journalist should try his/her best to negotiate/hurdle/twist stance in order not be crushed. After all, we still need the hands in order to clap, right?
    I know this might sound a bit idealistic, especially in the Arab region, where freedom of thought among common citizens is censored , but we still need a smart continuation of a voice out there…

  • Actually secratea, freedom is not free, and here i am not talking only about freedom of speech, I am talking about our right to be corruption free, our right to live as humans who have a say in their fate, a real say in our fate, not through this fake parliment, a say when they sell the country’s assets, a say about many things..This freedom doesn’t come to you, you walk to it, and this walk is not an easy one..We need to be liberated from this “I know whats better for you” mentality because it is a facade for ” I am gonna suck your blood to the last drop”

  • It depends on what the journalist is in the game for.. money solely? or self realization as well. If the second then many are willing to pay high price for what they stand for.

    Wish he was not harmed in the first place, but it would be much better if it was for a personal reason. At least it would not harm freedoms as an incident.

    Many would argue Jamil’s background. to me, he points on very sensitive issues and enjoys a positive attitude to distinguish good initiatives.

  • The exciting element in this story is the fact that the King promnised to have a thorough investigation. Friends of Nimri do have their doubts of a very influential Parliamentarian who has threatened Nimri few weeks ago after one of his TV shows. I cannot say the name of this deputee now as it is considered slander without proof but if it turns out to be true it would be a real example of the ganwa mentality of our politicians.

  • hani: no, i said that one of the reasons this specific incident was widely reported is because of nimri himself, i.e. who he is, as well as the type of attack. my point being that others face similar threats on their lives.

  • بل الله عليك يا بتير، الي متي سوف تتوقف عن مسح جوخ؟؟

  • جوخ مين الذي مسحته يا روحي؟ هل يمكن أن تكون واضحا في هذا الأمر؟

  • Nas, yes thats true. In fact in the same week, Imad Hajjaj received threats from two groups for his drawings, notably one Muslim and the other Christian. The fear from such attacks or threats is that aim to silence freedom of opinion. Arabs have a major problem in being narrow-minded, their opinions must be imposed upon others. it sucks.

  • معقول يا بتير ،الاردني الحر صار روحك؟؟؟
    أذا راجعت ما كتبته في تعليقك،سوف تلحظ مسح الجوخ،يا قلبي

Your Two Piasters: