Jordanian Parliament Shutting The Door To Journalists!

It perhaps goes without saying that the most defunct and notoriously futile arm of the entire Jordanian government apparatus, is the Lower House of Parliament; the very small government body that “the people” actually get to “vote” for. The Lower House never ceases to amaze me in its imbecility and it is a constant reminder how we are often our own worse enemies.

This recent piece of news that Lower House Speaker Abdul Hadi Majali has taken a decision to limit reporters’ access to Parliament is an example of such imbecility. And here is perhaps the worst part of the news:

But House Media Adviser Hamdan Hajj told reporters the speaker only seeks to regulate journalists’ access to Parliament…

“If the decision is implemented, it will facilitate journalists’ missions and their access to information and deputies,” Hajj said

Putting the words “access to information” and “regulate journalists’ access to Parliament” in the same sentence is just so oxymoronic I don’t even know where to begin. The fact that anyone with any common sense can even rationalize a government body’s move to restrict journalists to anything in this day and age, and try to do any amount of spin-control for the issue, is just so asinine, I really, really, don’t know where to begin.

But I’ll give them credit: this is something the Jordanian government, and Jordanian politicians are pretty good at: spinning anything that, by any ordinary definition would be considered authoritarian, undemocratic, regressive and even corrupt, in to something along the lines of “oh, we’re just trying to make things better.” Yes, indeed, we’re simply trying to “facilitate”.

So before we get lost in the official talking points, let’s simplify:

This is simply a disgusting show of dictatorial control over the media sector, stemming from Jordanian politicians who want nothing more than to hinder any hope for media reform in the Kingdom, and, above all, keep their so-called constituents in the dark about their daily debaucheries.

And these are the people who make and vote on the laws that govern us.


  • “Majali issued directives on Monday restricting the entry of journalists into Parliament and forbidding them from going to the offices of secretariat employees and deputies.”

    Very wise of him. forbidding journalists from talking to secretaries and employees guarantees news doesn’t go throw the grapevine.

    We should have a Jordanian C-SPAN it will encourage some transparency, and original comedy, and maybe if voters watch what the idiots they elect do and say they will vote more wisely next time.

    “And these are the people who make and vote on the laws that govern us.” the channel should also have parallel viewers voting by text msgs just for kicks star academy style

  • What do we expect from a rigged election to produce? even in the best case scenario of a fair and free election, the grossly unrepresentative nature of Parliament will ensure its existence as a tool of political disenfranchisement. Throw in the absence of a true democracy in Jordan at all levels of governance, well you get the picture…but I am surprised that you all are surprised. If any, I think you all do Jordan a disservice by pretending this Parliament has any credibility whatsoever.

    The sole role of the Jordanian Parliament is to leave Jordanians with a bad taste in their mouths in an attempt to disparage democracy. It also serves as a nice garnish so the powers that be can wear it on their sleevs as a proof of political reforms. And the most useful use for of the Parliament is to sustain Honor Killing laws and to ratify the Treaty between the Jordanian regime and Israel.

    Common guys. Stop all this talk of indignation. Did you think the Parliament will have any powers. Even if they decide to turn it into a truly representative body of the Jordanian polity and even if they stop rigging the elections, you still have the lack of separation of powers. the fact the House of Lords (Senate) is fully appointed by the King ans the fact the ministers and the prime ministers are appointed by the king will ensure Jordan will never have a true democracy. not in your future or mine. Maybe after the next ice age. So lt’s all help speed up global warming. Only a catastrophe of this magnitude will change our fortunes in the Arab world .

  • Did you also hear about the other brother, Abdel Salam al majali, saying that wasta is our worst enemy? I mean, talk about irony being told with alll seriousness.

    Yazan: You don’t see anything wrong with that? If you mean having his employees in his companies vote for him, Then nothing wrong with that, because in a way he owns them.

  • نعم هذه هي ديمقراطية المجالية كرد إعتذار إلى الشعب ،عن محاكمة خالد محادين .

  • As much as i dont support the current parliament house, i find it illogical and very much steered actually to draw the blame game of corruption, deficiency accusations and criticism mainly on it as the worst evil in the country, because dealing with the house of parliament as a separate political entity that is suffering “only” and the bad reflection of how not political the political scene is in Jordan is a very unrepresentative description to how things actually work in Jordan. And for me a step to steer our attention from functional operational bodies in the government that is the source behind such a corrupted and weak parliament house.

    It’s obviously easier and allowed to criticize representatives, as the government would actually support that criticism and next blame the people who elected them. Blaming the people for not electing a strong political clean house and draw illusions that we could have a better house in a decent clean process but that was our people choice.

    That illusion could be right and fair, if the election law that people vote through is fair and decent in the first place, and if the political scene is allowed to grow and be at least political to produce politically capable candidates and political capable voters.

    And that would actually make sense, if the parliament in Jordan is an upper political power, while in fact it’s NOT. For many reasons, first, by law, the king can actually not call for it, and it happened before which endowed us with 240 temporarily illegal laws enforced by abu el ragheb government and still functioning till we speak , laws of which are behind the bad of the worst of our current country state.

    Secondly, the government act with un-questioned state of power, for example, the 2008 approved “qowat el darak law” and its functional body started operation before it even reached the parliament for voting. And who would even dare to ask, how come an on paper law proposal would actually starts functioning and its bases in bader el jadeeda gets visited and checked on by high ranking militant officials before we Jordanians hear about, even though it requires the parliament approval to start working on?

    In addition to all that, the representatives who got to get to the parliament are mainly those who spent a life time serving in the governmental bodies, I dont see Abed el hadi el majali representing people or al karak, he simply represents the government not any one else, not because of his political stands but the simple fact that he served in ministry of interior life time and especially at habet neesan against the rebelling Jordanians and he got rewarded for his actions not the other way around, and his son works for the government switching between different ministries’ and questioned over different projects.

    Those representatives don’t get to vote our laws, they are brought to the parliament through a politically designed law (one vote law) to ensure that who the government wants gets to the house, through a corrupted election process that we still didn’t forget it scams and corruption stories and in an operational process that allows much of corruption, governmental interference that enforce what it wants over what some representatives would actually dare to object on when they does.

    I say this not because I want to things to remain the same, but because I have this 6th sense that all (not your article per se) attacks and criticism on the parliament are directed eventually to end its remaining 2 years before they should, leaving us with out a house of parliament again and giving an equally low trusted governmental body and its cabinet the chance to enforce more temporarily laws that would go more and more against our benefit as a country and its people.

  • For some reason this reminds me of my computer this morning when the message on the screen read: No keyboard found, press F1… I don’t know why exactly, maybe because those were the top two stupidists things I came across today besides the movie suggesting the Judas Iscoriates is Dracula…

    Can we by any chance Unvote the Palriament? Please look into it, please!

  • Hilarious that they are worried about press. They should worry about each other – you know, all that back stabbing, gossip and time waste! Ishi bi gazziz!

    IMHO, the good people of Jordan should shut their doors to these alleged parliamentarians! Stop the vote. Close the building down. Replace it with a park. You know…one of those parks that can one day be replaced with a sexy piece of real estate. Parliament is an embarrassment. Stop. The concept of this lot was once upon a time deemed necessary to discuss (parlement = a discussion)! Who needs this stupid discussion anyway in this day and age?!

    And if any single one of them had any sense or had the guts, s/he would click record on their mobile phone and upload an entertaining piece of I don’t know what to ikbis! But none of them do! Sad. Pathetic. And totally un-fun!

  • Can’t you people figure that out yet? the king is the country ,the parliament ,the lower house ,the upper house ,the prime-minister and everything else that comes with this corrupt ,and defunct government.

  • away from jordan specifically .. is there really any effective parliament in all of the arab world .. im actually asking im not being sarcastic ..

  • “…leaving us with out a house of parliament again and giving an equally low trusted governmental body and its cabinet the chance to enforce more temporarily laws that would go more and more against our benefit as a country and its people.”
    Laila, last I checked, no temporary law has been introduced in the last four or five years, maybe even longer, but I could be wrong. And I think it’s unfair to accuse the Government of carrying out some secret plan to rid us of our House of Parliament. I also think it’s unfair to accuse Parliament of being “corrupted and weak”, simply because, as you said, we’re the ones that chose it, and I don’t think institutionalizing corruption and weakness was what any of us had in mind when we made our way to the polls in November 2007. But I agree with you that, yes, the single-vote formula in our elections law as it stands today plays a role in the final make-up of the House. I think that the one-person-one-vote system should be scrapped. For good. I think that the quota for women should be scrapped too. But this should be done simultaneously. That way the door will be wide open, not just ajar, for more women and youth to enter public life and make an even greater mark on the democratic process. As for shifting the blame for any given House’s performance on the people, well, it’s not “my choice” that determines the effectiveness of the House, but how well the MP fares in serving her/his constituency and the public interest, once he/she has secured my vote. I voted in 1989, 1993 and 2007, alas for a different candidate each time.

  • “I think that the one-person-one-vote system should be scrapped. For good. I think that the quota for women should be scrapped too. But this should be done simultaneously. That way the door will be wide open’
    i dont follow poltices much, cause its boring and always disappointing. anyways from my experiance however , opening the door wide open isnt alwayz the best choice for change. for instance, the last presidentcy election in Egypt, it had about 10 canditeds, but since they were too many, each recived very low % of the vote, and so Husni remains still on the chair. i think it would of been more effective if the best 2 of those 10, undergoes a final voting stage(one on one that is). im sure if that was the case, husni would of been out of the picture by now(ofc in the shadow of a democratic election).

  • laila – i agree with the core of ur criticisms and yes the people are not to blame for the parliament, the problem is in the electoral law itself. However, i think that the language we use to criticise the electoral law in its current format (the one person one vote formula) actually masks the bigger problem that chronically disables parliamentary life in jordan: the gerrymandering of election districts. in fact it is so severe that it boreders on ‘geographic’ racism.
    So for example, amman, in all its districts, houses around 40% of the population (nearly half), yet all of amman is only represented by 23 seats in parliament. So after excluding the quota seats, this means that 40% of the population gets 23 seats, whilst the remaining 60% gets 81!!!!!!!
    Similarly, the vote of a person in Tafileh is worth 5 times the vote of someone in Zarqa, and while Karak has a population smaller than Mafraq, Karak has 10 seats in parliament whilst Mafraq has 4.

    so yes law is a problem. but confining the problem to the one-person one-vote formula ONLY is also part of the problem. because if they ever change the formula we will still find ourselves with a crippling parliament.

    Maybe we should start by changing the way criticisms of the current electoral law are described, i.e. pin a new terminology that addresses its geographic inequality? Just a thought.

    having said that i still think that we need to keep critiquing parliament’s actions in its present form, as nas did, (not to play into the government’s hands as you suggested), but rather to show our resentment of being misrepresented, and our willingness to speak out. because speaking out is the birth of beginnings. of possibility. It always has been.

Your Two Piasters: