Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, June 2011


Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)




Jordanian Media Affairs Minister, Taher Al-Odwan, Resigns in Protest Against New Law Restricting Media Freedoms


Media affairs minister tenders resignation

Jordan Times, 22 June 2011


Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Taher Odwan on Tuesday tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, in protest against referring draft legislation that “limit media freedoms” to the Lower House in its upcoming extraordinary session.

However, it was not clear by yesterday evening whether the resignation was accepted.

A government source familiar with the development told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity that Odwan attended the regular session of the Cabinet yesterday, where the resignation was not discussed.

The minister, a veteran journalist and columnist, “practised his regular duties after the Cabinet meeting and held a routine meeting with his team” when they usually discuss press statements following the ministers’ meetings, said the source.

Odwan, who did not answer calls from The Jordan Times yesterday, said he submitted his resignation because of what he described as moves to muzzle freedoms.

In his resignation letter to Bakhit, which he posted on his Facebook page and sent to several local news websites, Odwan said that the proposed amendments to the Press and Publications Law, the Anti-Corruption Commission Law and the Penal Code for deliberations under the Dome will hinder the reform process if endorsed by lawmakers, voicing hope the House will reject them.

The former editor-in-chief of Al Arab Al Yawm daily said the draft amendments will negate the newly released media strategy, which is based on amending legislation to provide a higher margin of press freedom, describing the laws in the form adopted by the Cabinet as “martial laws”.

In the letter, Odwan said the majority of the Cabinet was against including the amendments on the Press and Publications Law on the extraordinary session’s agenda, charging that there were powers within or outside the government pushing for discussing the draft amendments in Parliament.

He also rejected the “frequent assaults” against reporters as they perform their duties, noting that mistakes committed by media outlets do not legitimise attacking them and destroying their offices.

Last week, unidentified attackers stormed Agence France-Presse offices in Jabal Amman and smashed windows and furniture. The raid was apparently a reaction to AFP’s coverage of His Majesty King Abdullah’s tour of the southern town of Tafileh, sending initial news flashes that the Monarch’s convoy came under attack last Monday. The way the news of clashes between citizens and police during the visit was reported apparently angered people who first protested near AFP offices and attacked them violently the next day.

Odwan warned that the absence of a firm response to stop such attacks will lead the Kingdom into a state of chaos, “drowning” it in the same “quagmire” where other Arab systems have sunk.

The letter concluded with Odwan commending Bakhit’s ministerial team for their patriotism and will to achieve reform in the face of corruption.

Jordan's information minister resigns

Press TV, Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:54PM

Jordan's Information Minister Taher Adwan says he has resigned in protest at laws he deems "restrictive for freedom of expression.”

Adwan said that he had submitted his resignation today to Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit in “protest at a government decision to debate new press and publication laws in parliament that he had opposed,” AFP reported on Tuesday.

"In addition, MPs will debate proposed anti-corruption and penal laws. I consider these laws restrictive for freedom of expression," he added.

On Monday, King Abdullah II ordered parliament to convene in an extraordinary session from Wednesday to discuss a series of temporary laws.

Describing the proposed legislation as a "blow to the reform drive" and "martial laws," Adwan condemned "the repeated attacks on journalists who are doing their professional duties."

"Such attacks completely contradict political reform efforts, which cannot be achieved without a democratic climate of press freedom," Adwan said.

It was not immediately clear whether the prime minister has accepted the resignation.

On Monday, hundreds gathered outside AFP's office demanding its closure after the agency reported a statement by a security official that the king's motorcade had been stoned during his visit to the southern city of Tafila.

Other international agencies reported similar stories. The reports were denied by Adwan, who said limited scuffles broke out after residents were denied access to an area in the city after the monarch's convoy had left.






Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & &