CDFJ Documents 33 Violations Faced by 26 Media Practitioners and Photojournalists when Attempting to Cover the Release of Al-Daqamseh
Prevention from coverage is a blatant violation of the provisions of the constitution and human rights conventions ratified by Jordan.
The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) documented 33 violations to which 26 media practitioners and photojournalists were subjected while covering the release of Ahmad Al-Daqamseh last Sunday 12 March, 2017 in the village of “Ibder” in Irbid governorate.
A special report issued by CDFJ said that it received through its program “Monitoring and Documenting Violations against Journalists (AIN)” team, information and frequent testimonies that a large number of journalists and media practitioners were prevented from covering the event. It also received allegations that journalists’ work equipment was assaulted and confiscated, and documented the detention of one journalist present to cover the event.
In its details, the report documented 26 prevention-from-coverage violations, four violations of assault on work equipment in which equipment was confiscated in two cases, and one case of arbitrary restriction of freedom.
In the introduction to its report, CDFJ expressed its belief that prevention of covering the event was carried out in a systematic and widespread manner, and intentional by the security system. All allegations received by the CDFJ from journalists indicated that they were prevented from covering the event by these security systems entrusted with implementing the law.
The report showed that the documented information came in coordination and follow-up with a number of journalists, who stated that they were subjected to prevention from coverage, and documented what they were subjected to by photographic, video, and audio recording, which they sent to the “Ain” team as incontestable evidence of what they were subjected to.
CDFJ expressed its belief that preventing coverage of this event is considered an assault against the freedom of opinion, expression, and the media, which is a basic right inherent in the work of media professional. It pointed out that journalists cannot practice their professional work as required unless information was made available to them without any repercussions affecting them.
It also stressed that the right to the freedom of expression and the media includes the right of media practitioners to tap all sources of information, and to deliver, disseminate, and spread information freely and smoothly.
CDFJ pointed out in its report that violations of preventing coverage are considered a clear and blatant violation of the provisions of the Jordanian constitution, the Jordanian law, and human rights conventions which were ratified by Jordan and published in the Official Gazette.
CDFJ’s “Ain” team had received reports from journalists it is in contact with indicating that colleagues of theirs were subjected to prevention of coverage or other problems when they were present at the coverage location, and were witnesses to what their colleagues were subjected to, providing their names to the team.
The village of “Ibder” had witnessed strong security reinforcements that prevented journalists, media outlets, and direct broadcast vehicles from approaching the Al-Daqamseh Diwan. Security patrols were also placed at the village entrance, preventing everyone except the village residents from entering. A number of journalists, however, managed to reach the area where Al-Daqamseh received well-wishers.
The security systems had released on the night of Saturday / Sunday 12 March “Ahmad Al-Daqamseh” after his prison term was completed at the Umm Al-Lulu Reform and Rehabilitation Center near the city of Al-Mafraq. The State Security Court had sentenced Al-Daqamseh to life in prison in 1997 after he killed seven Israeli girls on a trip in Al-Baqurah area in north-west Jordan. Al-Daqamseh at the time said that they made fun of him for praying while on duty in the armed forces. The issue of releasing him remained a subject for a debate and an interest in the Jordanian society.