Jordanian Journalists Rejoice! Imprisonment Abolished!

After a little pass and play between the two Houses of Parliament, the Lower House voted to cancel (i.e. remove) the clause that upheld the imprisonment of journalists in the new press and printing draft law after it was sent back from the Upper House. The hefty fine is still on but at least journalists won’t have to see the inside of a jail cell. I wonder however, with this legislation in play, will life for journalists become harder as the “others” find new (old) ways to circumvent the law? Let’s hope not.

Another draft law that states a minimum of 500 members need to be on board to be considered a political party has become the next controversial piece of legislation as it means many, if not most, of our 34 current parties will end up disappearing and/or probably having to merge, ahead of elections scheduled for this year. I’m probably one of the few who thinks this is actually a decent plan. Rushed, but decent.

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  • Interesting developments Naseem! Thanks for keeping us informed. Let’s see if the monkey sees.. monkey does policy work and the other monkeys in the region amend laws which penalise journalists in their countries!

  • I don’t think it’s a step forward, it’s just a step in preventing the detoorioration of whatever remains of the democracy in Jordan. The freedoms we have now are in no way better than what we did in 1989, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna get better, at least those who are supposed to protect it are working hard to demolish it.

  • I don’t know if this is good enough, sky should be the limit for the press as the king said if I recall correctly..
    The political parties in general have no loyality for the country, some for syria, some for saddam, some qaddafi, some for hamas, some for fateh..the list is long..Anyway If I was in control none of these parties will exist..Loyality to jordan must come first, then comes everything else..God bless Jordan.

  • Lower House = Jordanian Elite , Upper House= Majority of Jordanians who support honor crimes,jailing journalists.

    Anyways, I’m sure some PM out there is busy with some new thing to keep us entertained.

  • Hareega,
    Would you please explain yourself in more detail, I just don’t see how this is a step backward in the road to perfect democracy.

  • Mohanned, about what King told that “sky should be the limit for the press”? I red a sentece like that of him, about the Danish cartoons “against” Prophet Muhammad, when he said “the freedom of expression shouldn’t be used to attack the belivers of other religions”.
    Well, I think IN THEORY he’s absolutely right and I blamed cartoons too, but I hoped the good King Abdallah was braver in that situation, because he’s considered a “moderate”, so we always imagine that he’s “always” a “moderate”. 🙁
    Also an Islamic extremist can say that, so in my opinion it’s STRANGE that a good man as the king says that, expecially if Jordan saw the arrest of journalists like Jihad Al-Momani and of Al-Khalidi and maybe also recall the Embassadors (I sincerly don’t remember).
    I think freedom has some risks and King Abdallah must accept these first of everybody, to confirm once more that he’s a true “moderate” (even if we see, expecially in West, that too much freedom can be dangerous and “immoral”!).
    By the way some Islamic groups and IAF “forced” him to do that, I don’t know… .

  • Allesandra,
    Relegion is something sacred for muslims, when you attack someone’s relegion you are attacking their soul, am I right?I don’t mind cartoons about muslim behaviours but they attacked the soul of islam and this offended every muslim, moderate or non moderate..
    Freedom comes with responsibilities too, and to be honest we arabs in general are not responsible people(for now)..
    In all Allesandra, Freedom is a step by step process, sudden freedom will make us look like iraq:)

    LOVE your name:)

  • “Freedom come from resposibilities too, and to be honest we arabs in general are not responsible people (for now)”.

    Well, I don’t want generalize with Arabs and Muslims, but I must tell that I loved so much this your sentence, Mohanned: that’s the point.
    I think that’s normal that Muslims feel offended or sad if someone attacks Islam and I told that in theory King Abdallah is absolutely right to say that…but arresting journalists for insulting religion, boycotting products and recalling Embassadors for that, doesn’t make honour to him and to his fame. When can also Arabs and Muslims reach these famous responsibilities? They don’t help to not insult Islam, because they often tell to act “in its name”. And telling that “it isn’t the true Islam”, is surely necessary, but not enough. These things can take people far from the religion too: they would respect it because they are frightened and not for their faith… .
    Thank about my name 🙂 (one L)

  • Alessandra…. yes it’s a good thing that we’re not jailing journalists for writing anything other than kissing the butts of officials, but for a democratic country (that’s what we call Jordan and that’s what wh have been very proud of for a few years) it’s very little. The government is not elected, besides you’re damned if you join any political party.
    That’s not deomcracy.

  • You are also right, Hareega, but neither elections are per se the conditio sine qua non for democracy: they are fondamental for a formal democracy, but not for a democracy in substance. I would say they are necessary but not enough conditions.
    And then also, about istitutions, UK, Spain, Nederland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden are monarchy, so the leaders are in effect not elected, but you can’t say they are dictatorships.

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