Jordanian Senate Speaker Faisal el-Fayez recently asserted his renunciation of arrests and detainments of media workers. “I object to the detainment of journalists and this has always been my position,” said el-Fayez during a meeting with members of press. “And in making this statement,” continued el-Fayez, “I would like to recall His Majesty’s support of democracy and liberty and his denunciation of the arrest and detainment of journalists.”
During the meeting, attended by the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), el-Fayez also added that “the media must take quick and urgent action to address unprofessional practices and to stop imposters from distorting the media profession.”
El-Fayez also criticized those in the media who violate personal privacy and defame individuals through slander and libel.
The speaker welcomed the initiative to establish a media grievance council to offer redress to those affected by media errors and overreach. Individuals will be able to direct their grievances directly to the council and take steps to restore their reputation without the need for litigation.
The media delegation included CDFJ Executive President Nidal Mansour, General Director of the Community Media Network Daoud Kuttab, JO 24 publisher Basil el-Akour, journalist Aroub Soubh and Khalid Khalifat, Director of the Media Legal Aid Unit (MELAD). The delegation explained the increased restrictions faced by the media as a result of the Legal Interpretation Bureau’s decision that the Cyber Crime Law should allow for the detainment and imprisonment of journalists.
Moreover, the delegation asserted that current media laws restrict press freedom and requested the support of the Senate in bringing them into alignment with the Jordanian Constitution and international standards. Delegation members pointed out that in countries considered to uphold freedom of expression, legal cases involving the media are handled in civil rather than criminal court where financial restitution is the most serious punishment.
For his part, el-Fayez promised to express the delegation’s concerns to His Majesty King Abdullah and to continue to support their efforts to develop the media profession.