The Jordanian Press Association’s Red Herring

AMMAN (JT) – Around 21 local daily and weekly newspapers on Sunday said they decided to publish a unified statement in protest against the reprinting of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad in 17 Danish newspapers. In a statement issued yesterday, the newspapers said their response will be professional and objective and constitutes the first step in a major media campaign which will include a series of articles and editorials. The campaign aims to highlight that the republication of the cartoons is an unaccepted and unjustified insult to Islam and has nothing to do with the freedom of the press, the statement said. The statement called on all Jordanian, Arab and Islamic media outlets, as well as journalists, to join the campaign, which emphasises Jordan’s historic role in defending Islam and Prophet Mohammad. [source]

Fellow blogger, Khalaf, who is back to blogging thank God, had an interesting take on the issue. Essentially, he argued that this new and revamped anti-cartoon campaign is meant to deliberately distract the press’s attention from the recent charter imposing more media restrictions on the Arab press.

I’m more inclined to believe that the Arab press, be it private or state, cannot ignore its basic tendencies. As much as I hate the subject of Danish-cartoons, it is at the end of the day, simply, good press. It sells. It probably sells more than that recent Arab League charter. But there are other reasons to shine yet another giant spotlight on the issue.

With the charter receiving an official state seal, it may be difficult to speak out against it. In all likelihood, governments such as Jordans’, have probably relied on a series of phone calls to ensure the passivity of the local press. While that doesn’t do well with street credibility, the Danish cartoons may be JPA’s perfect red herring.

Yes, the cartoons may be insulting and their reprinting is just plain redundant (even for art), but I long ago decided that even in the very small chance that the Prophet (pbuh) himself felt insulted, he would’ve gotten over them by now. However, what is really insulting in my opinion is that the Arab press, or let me amend that to specifically say the Jordanian press, have given the Arab League and their government’s a relatively free ride when it comes to the charter. Where are the large-scale denouncements? Where is the outcry? The op-ed after op-ed? Where is the major media campaign?

I hope there will be some degree of refocusing on the issues that really matter, especially with the media being under attack. The charter is just a small fraction of what’s available on the palette. How about the signed circular Ammonnews posted yesterday on its website, which was issued by Prime Minister Nader Dahabi, warning public employees against handing over copies of documents related to alleged administrative and financial corruption to the media*.

Cartoons are issue best left to others.


  • Nas and Khalaf, two of the sharpest knives in the drawer. 🙂

    As if Islam needs the media to defend itself. That, to me, would be a greater insult by far. As a Christian, I cringe when sacred religious symbols, concepts and names are defamed with contempt (at least you all don’t have the name of your prophet being used as a curse on TV daily). But, sadly, responses like the JPA are just what anti-Muslim media need to ‘prove’ there is no hope for progress in this region.

    Now this shell game idea about covering up the Arab charter worked with me. I missed the whole thing, so will have to go see now. Hope I haven’t insulted anyone.

  • I think the new charter is the most bullshit thing i’ve seen in a while…. can’t believe that in this day and age where we seemed to be moving forward for a split second, they decide to thrust us back into the dark ages… how ridiculous… sadly i know the person who wrote the charter, he was my professor at the American University in Cairo, and as progressive as AUC was, especially the Mass comm department, i can’t believe that he would just go ahead and create something like that and betray us all…. its all for the money and political prestige.. i’m so dissapointed.. and i totally agree, after studying arabic media, they ALWAYS find some other thing to talk about and hype up when there’s a bigger deeper problem going on… seriously who gives a shit about the Danish cartoons now? we’ve got bigger issues… but you will always notice that press always does this, if you look just an inch below the surface… 🙁

  • kinzi: sometimes i feel the anti-Muslim media may be right about the progress thingy.

    M: your professor eh? it’s a pretty small world i guess.

    bambam: sorry, can you elaborate on your comment please?

  • case 1: cartoons, they are try to place a censor on every mouth that might be blasphemous to Islam in the world now that they already “think” they achieved that within the Muslim countries
    case 2: they still think in total control mode and kinda ignored independent channels placed outside of their reach and the big elephant that is the internet.
    SO It’s like trying to stop a tsunami with planks of wood… it’s moot & inconsequential

  • It is soooo easy to distract jordanians. “Trash” babies, missionaries, a couple of honor crimes, a faisali Vs. wehdat game, etc… They can’t miss..

  • lol not even the simplest circumlocution am i allowed here ?
    They case 1, anyone offended by the cartoons and is against publishing or printing them
    They Case 2, people who contributed, formulated, passed or in any capacity were related to the Arab league charter

Your Two Piasters: