Government tries to censor TV coverage of pro-Palestinian protests

March 13, 2002 12:00 PM ET

March 13, 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah Ibn Hussein
C/o Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Via facsimile: 202-966-3110


Your Majesty:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply concerned about several recent government attempts to stifle television news coverage of pro-Palestinian rallies in Jordan.

On March 5, the state-run Jordan TV (JTV) barred Reuters TV, Associated Press Television News (APTN), and Al-Jazeera from using its facilities to relay footage of pro-Palestinian students demonstrating at Jordan University.

That same day, Jordanian authorities confiscated footage of the same protest from a Reuters crew at the King Hussein Bridge, which links Jordan with the West Bank.
On March 8, JTV refused to let journalists from several Middle Eastern broadcasters use its facilities to feed film of pro-Palestinian rallies at the Baqa'a refugee camp outside of Amman unless they agreed to make major content edits to the footage, according to one source.

The stations, Lebanon's Al Manar TV, Al-Jazeera, and Abu Dhabi TV, agreed to the changes and were eventually allowed to use JTV's facilities.

JTV, the only station with facilities to feed broadcast material in Amman, is regularly used by foreign broadcasters.

On March 10, security forces confiscated the camera equipment of journalists working with APTN, Reuters TV, and Abu Dhabi TV after they filmed a pro-Palestinian rally at Jordan University. The cameras were returned without the tapes approximately 45 minutes later.

These blatant attempts to censor undesirable news coverage violate basic press freedom standards. As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, CPJ calls on Your Majesty to ensure that all journalists in Jordan are able to work without official hindrance.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters. We await your response.



Sincerely,

Ann Cooper
Executive Director

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