CPJ condemns attack on office of news website

New York, April 19, 2011–Six men raided the office of a news website in Amman on Monday, threatening its staff and destroying equipment. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the assault on Al-Muharrir and calls on Jordanian authorities to investigate the attack thoroughly.

Unidentified men stormed the office of Al-Muharrir‘s editor-in-chief, Jihad Abu Baidar, and threatened to kill him and burn his office if he did not withdraw an article he published that same day, local news reports said. The article reported on an anti-corruption commission that was about to begin investigating the former chief of staff, Gen. Khaled Jamil al-Saraira, according to multiple news reports. The attackers also beat an employee, Ahmad al-Hajaj, and broke a computer.

Jordanian journalists and media workers demonstrated today in front of the Jordanian Journalists’ Syndicate in solidarity with their colleagues and demanded an immediate investigation, local news said.

“We are alarmed by the increase both in the frequency and intensity of attacks on the media in Jordan in recent months,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on the authorities to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into this assault and bring those responsible to justice. The government has not launched a single inquiry into a recent spate of attacks. This failure to act sends a chilling message to the press.”

CPJ documented several media attacks in Jordan since March, including threats against Al-Jazeera staffers, assaults on journalists covering pro-reform demonstrations, and the hacking of news websites.