In this 2001 file photo, Jordanian men read a newspaper in a cafe in Amman. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji)
In this 2001 file photo, Jordanian men read a newspaper in a cafe in Amman. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji)

Jordan refuses Egyptian journalist entry

New York, July 11, 2017–Jordanian authorities should lift any restrictions on Egyptian Journalist Wael Mamdouh’s ability to travel to the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Immigration officers at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport yesterday denied Mamdouh entry to Jordan, where he was planning to attend a digital storytelling workshop organized by Jordan’s Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), according to a statement by the group and news reports.

Mamdouh, deputy editor of the investigative unit in the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm, flew back to Cairo earlier today after spending a night at the airport, according to the reports.

“Preventing foreign journalists from attending media workshops is petty and at odds with Jordan’s commitments to press freedom,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “We call on Jordanian immigration authorities to lift any restrictions on Wael Mamdouh’s ability to enter the country immediately.”

ARIJ Executive Director Rana Sabbagh said in the statement that the group had obtained “official clearance for all Arab and Jordanian participants,” and that official did not provide any reason for denying Mamdouh entry.

The Jordanian Ministry of Interior did not immediately respond to CPJ’s emails requesting comment.

Mamdouh has previously worked with ARIJ on investigative reports on military affairs in Egypt. He also reported on arms smuggling in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and on conditions in a notorious maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Cairo for Al-Masry al-Youm. Jordanian and Egyptian security agencies work closely together.

During a 2016 CPJ mission to Jordan, officials renewed the government’s commitments to press freedom and expressed willingness to work with the parliament to reform restrictive laws governing the press.