Friday, June 06, 2008

A new public meetings law

One refreshing aspect of Mullah Nader’s government is that it has stopped all pretences of being liberal, progressive or enlightened, let alone responsive to public sentiment. Here, we are dealing with imposed reality, unplugged.

So, it was surprising to see that the government sent a new draft law for public meetings to parliament. To my more naïve western readers, yes, there is a public meetings law. For any public gathering you need permission from the governor. Usually, the governor summarily says no. He doesn’t have to say why.

There have been heavy public demands to reform this law, specifically towards simply needing to inform the governor so that he can make security arrangements. However, the new law is very similar to the old one. Cosmetic modifications were introduced; lowering the period of time needed to inform the governor and excluding some non-political gatherings from its provisions.

Of course, opposition activists are unhappy with this new law. Yesterday, they tried to persuade the parliamentary “public freedoms” committee to introduce more liberal changes. According to one member of the committee, Abdelraouf Rawabdeh, he tried to change the committees mind towards the needed changes. However, it seems that the committee didn’t like the activists’ attitude. So, they left the most important provisions the way they are.

Of course, the whole approach of these activists was wrong. Instead of trying to persuade the committee with logic, they should have invited them to a mansaf. Don’t they know how things work in Jordan? Sheesh.

So, because the activists were not nice enough, we will get a new public meetings law that is the same as the old one. It is not because we live in a police state. It is because the activists didn’t say “pretty please with a cherry on top”.



At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Abderaouf AlRawabdeh?
When he was a prime minister I heard many rumors that he was rather corrupt, very biased towards people from his hometown, and generally didn't bloating government institutions by hiring many unneeded employees from his hometown.
Of course, I had no way to verify this.

And now, according to the Ghad newspaper article, he's the only elected representative who is arguing for more liberal laws.

Even his comment on the "attitude" of these human-rights groups seemed interesting "90% of what they say is right, but the way they go about it is very offending."
Is this the real Rawabdeh? or is this a political show?

I wish the Ghad article explained the significance of every change made or canceled. The way the article is written, all the changes seemed pointless.

What do you think?

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and generally didn't mind bloating government institutions ...

missed "mind" in the sentence above.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

I think that the changes are cosmetic and largely meaningless. As for A.R., both facets are real, as they both are faces of a opportunist politician. A clever one at that.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Masalha1 said...

First of all I don't think the committee would agree to any major changes in the law if you sent them HAIFA WAHBI the reason is that the government will not agree to the changes and the committee can't afford to piss off the government.
These public gathering laws only exist in police states or under marshal laws in some countries which applies to all Arab countries, you can't tell me that we Jordanians have to live under such law to protect us as Rawabdeh said, so instead of protecting my rights under the constitution the government find it easier to just bann any public gathering.
We can put the blame on the government all we want for such law but we can't exclude our selves for electing such parliament members and have acommitee headed by some one like Fakhri Iskandar who is a retired police officer.
our constitution is one of the best in the world yet it gets VIOLATED every day by the very people who suppose to protect it, and unless we emphasise on the danger of violating the constitution, we will be beating around the bush for ever and the government will continue to tell us they only doing this to protect us from those evil violant demonstraters with foreign agenda.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Joseph Wineroth and I work for the Arab Press Network, a department of the World Association of Newspapers, in Paris, France. We are currently interested in writing an article about Al Anbat the newspaper. I saw that you had posted about it on Friday, March 3 2006, and would like to know if you would be interested on commenting about how it has progressed, and it's current state. If this interests you please email me at
Thank you


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