GETTY IMAGES: Destroyed furniture is seen in the AFP Amman office, on June 15, 2011 in Amman, Jordan. Ten men broke into AFP’s offices in Jordan’s capital on Wednesday and destroyed furniture, two days after the news agency was among several foreign media to report King Abdullah II’s motorcade had been stoned during his visit to Tafileh in the south.
I am not certain about the validity of the AFP report, however, it seems to me they were reporting an incident that took place without designating motive, i.e. those that threw rocks were doing so to protest the King, as opposed to the reality, which seems closer to it being a conflict between citizens and police refusing them access to the monarch.
In any case, whatever the truth may be, the reaction to it is unacceptable, especially at a time like this. If this event doesn’t capture our relationship with media as both a population and a state, then I don’t know what does. One can safely assume those outside the AFP office and were there to hurt its journalists and property were undoubtedly mobilized. Some of it is fueled by the pop-nationalism as of late, and some of it fueled by political strings being pulled by opportunists.
What is interesting is that some are accusing AFP of causing “national discord”, which is among the top 5 most common charges at the State Security court. But it doesn’t seem to have caused in any national discord really. Most people don’t seem to have even heard of the story. In fact, the attack on the AFP has actually made this more of a story, and if anything, it may be causing discord in the foreign relations with a friendly government – which is another top 5 charge of the state security court.