The human rights report: when will we grow up?
The Human rights watch report is out again, and as usual it criticizes Jordan. Of course, it criticizes the US, Israel, and the EU too.
The main difference between these countries and Jordan is how they react to this report. In Jordan, Petra put together a juvenile response, in which all people surveyed agreed that the level of freedom of expression in Jordan is "advanced". The head of the journalists syndicate, Tareq Momani, blamed "certain centers and ill-willed parties for supplying international organizations with unrealistic reports for selfish reasons in an effort to disrupt the ideal picture of democracy in Jordan". I'm not making this up. Honest.
Too bad that Momani didn't read the Al Ghad complaint, which cited official interference in editorial decisions (unless Al Ghad is an ill-willed party). He apparantly also doesn't realize that providing an open space for free speech requires changing 24 different laws.
Now, I am not saying that the human rights situation in Jordan is bad. Human Rights Watch doesn't say that either. The report simply points out some things that we should think about. But this isn't my point. My point is that this orchestrated upwelling of indignation is amateurish, and actually gives a worse impression than the HRW report does. I would have hoped that such a report would be an opportunity to objectively discuss shortcomings, not to instinctively become so defensive. I am looking for a similar response by American journalists to the criticism of HRW, but I still haven't found one.