Jordan: Skyline expresses concern over tightening restrictions on freedom of expression following repeated arrests of journalists
Stockholm- Skyline International for Human Rights states that the Jordanian government must reconsider its freedom of expression's polices following repeated incidents in which several journalists were arrested against the backdrop of their posts on social media. Hence, these practices constitute an unjustified restriction on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the both the Jordanian Constitution and international law.
In a statement released today, Wednesday, Skyline expresses concern and rejects the arrest of two journalists by Jordanian security services at different times this week. The most recent of these violations occurred yesterday, Tuesday, when these authorities detained journalist " Daoud Kuttab," director general of the Community Media Network in Jordan and vice president of the International Press Institute, for an hour at Queen Alia International Airport on charges of "cybercrime."
The journalist " Kuttab" published a tweet , "It was a short arrest and I was released, but I have to visit the Public Security Cybercrime Unit tomorrow."
In related news, Jordanian security authorities arrested journalist "Taghreed Al-Rishq" on Monday evening after her arrival at Amman airport on a charge of "cybercrime" based on her tweet. The Prosecutor General on Tuesday.
In this regard, the Center for the Protection and Freedom of Journalists in Jordan, in a statement released yesterday (Tuesday), expressed concern about the restrictions on freedom that journalists are facing against the backdrop of legal actions against them. It said, "We have followed over the past two days how journalist Taghreed Al-Rishq was stopped and detained at Amman airport for almost 12 hours, upon arrival from Washington, for publishing a tweet on 13 January criticising a pro-government journalist. She was released on bail later that day.
The center added, "The same was repeated a day later with journalist Daoud Kuttab, who returned from a trip where he was also detained at the airport before being allowed to leave for home." The Center stressed that "these procedures constitute a violation of human rights in general and the rights of journalists in particular, and it is not permissible for the security and judicial 'circulations' to be carried out in a manner that does not take into account the rights and guarantees of respect for human dignity."
For its part, the human rights foundation Skyline points out that the government needs to amend Jordan's cybercrime law, stressing that the law in its current form gives executive authorities worrying powers to persecute activists and media professionals, particularly Article 11 of the law. According to article 11, "any opinion, article, or even emoji which authorities do not like, could lead to the court on charges of spreading misleading news or defamation and slander".
For its part, Skyline stresses that freedom of opinion and expression are among the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Jordanian Constitution and in international law in a number of conventions, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of ICCPR provides that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontier., either orally, in writing, in print, through the arts, or by any other means of his choice."
Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the Jordanian government to reconsider freedom of opinion and expression policies. Accordingly, it emphasizes that government efforts should be directed at enabling individuals and media organizations to exercise this right in a manner consistent with their aspirations.