Sunday, September 23, 2007

You’ve come a long way (back), baby

For a government that started its tenure promising to establish “freedom square”, it is pathetic to see how far back it slid towards authoritarianism.

This process probably started when they hid behind the parliament to enact a new press law that allowed the jailing of journalists (later “fixed” by the senate).

This was followed by the use of endless legal red tape to stifle the awaited launching of a new independent TV station known as ATV. After months of delays and excuses, the owners have finally given up and sold to new investors. Let’s hope they will be successful, both in launching and in living up to viewers’ expectations.

Along with the ATV debacle, there was the jailing of Ahmad Oweidi Abbadi for publishing some uncomfortable views on his website.

Now, the lust to control information and ideas seems to be spreading to electronic media in general. Today, the assistant director of the press and publications department has said that electronic newspapers will henceforth be under the supervision of the antiquated department. This supervision will also include websites as well (presumably including blogs).

Did I mention what a wise and compassionate government we have?

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At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha. You ain't seen nothing yet. If you happen to go to an Internet cafe, you must include your name, both first and last, your mother's name and your national number. That's based on the request of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (code name for Moukhabarat I presume?).

It's scary how this country is more and more becoming a police state. I've been stopped around 4 times this week right in front of my house by two "wandering blokes" asking me about my ID card, and then asking if I was drinking. When I told them that I've been stopped for 4 times already, he immediately "advised" me to mind my own business.

Let's just put it this way: Maybe that LA Times article had some truth in it...?

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just incomprehensible. The king calls for free speech, the government monitors blogging. The king calls the youngsters the “knights of change”, the government take the free speech outlets away. The king spend his time visiting under privileged regions, the government spends the money building unnecessary stuff in Amman.

Who runs stuff around here ?

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Hatem Abunimeh said...

I tend to lean toward the opinion offered by the satirist of Anbat newspaper Mr. Kamel Nsirat. He stated that in Jordan when it comes to taking a firm stand toward an issue your stand could never be absolute since most if not all of the contending parties are ready willing and able to give a very convincing opinion about their side of the story, therefore, if you want to have a piece of mind you must never take sides but rather court this group when necessary and cajole that group as necessary. In other words being a sycophant is a way of life in Jordan. You can’t come too strong opposing the government; you can’t come too strong against the syndicate, the labor unions, the nativests, IAF, and so on and so forth. I some how find myself subscribing to this kind of school of thought. I’m not saying it is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do; I’m just expressing my position on the issue


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