Monday, February 27, 2006

Encroachment On Press Freedom

In a decision that couldn't be justified by politics, common good, or logic, an unknown governmental side ( we don't know who made the decision) prevented the press yesterday from covering the return of the Jordanian citizen Mahmoud Saidat to Amman after the state succeeded in liberating him from his captors in Iraq as a result of an exhaustive effort that deserves lauding.

The governmental side allowed only the official governmental media representatives to cover the event. However, the other private journalists waited in front of Marka Airport, only to return to their news rooms empty handed.

The decision to prohibit the journalists from covering the event; which is of paramount importance is wrong, and an encroachment on the right of the press to pursue events that are tied to the common good.

It is a decision that is incongruent with the government's declared position in wanting to cooperate with the press and remove the obstacles before them, so in order for the press to be able to pursue its work truthfully and professionally.

How will this decision to prohibit endears the governmental declared position of open state institutions for media apparatus. In addition, what would the government had done had the daily papers refused to cover the event as a result of the encroachment on its rights, it would have gotten angry, blame the press, and accuse them of not fulfilling their duties toward the society.

But the newspapers didn't do that, the newspapers fathom the rights of their readers, and the rights of the nation on the newspaper, sort of not to let them down. The country have the right through its media to celebrate the saving of a citizen from the imminent danger of gaping death, saved only by unique performance of his majesty the king with the help of of other state institutions that were able to pull it off.

Because of that, the Jordanian press gave the event of safe return of Mr. Saidat to his family and his country the diligent pursuance and the coverage it deserves. The government is requested to stop making arbitrary and heavy handed decisions in its discourse with the media means.

The government needs the media as much as the media needs the government. The mutual relationship between the two of them must be built on objective professional frame, governed by law, and by practices that adheres to the principal of democracy, and the exigencies of respect, and the right of the press freedom to retrieve the information without hindrance, and passing the information to the reader without hindrance too.


Ayman Safadi

Translated from Arabic by Hatem Abunimeh.
It isn't my intent to translate any positive or negative piece, I like to translate whatever it is as accurately as possible, based on the way it is written. I don't necessarily agree with the content appearing in my translations. I don't seek to influence anybody, nor do I speculate about the motive of the original writer. What I do in terms of translation is strictly a hobby of mine I like to exercise it on an ongoing basis. I don't get paid for my translation work, nor do I receive any funding from any organization or corporation. All the translation work is solely based on my own endeavor. Hatem Abunimeh.

تجاوز على حرية الصحافة2006-02-26
في قرار لا تبرره سياسة أو مصلحة أو منطق، منعت جهات حكومية (لا نعرف من اتخذ القرار) الصحافيين أمس من تغطية عودة المواطن محمود السعيدات إلى عمان بعد أن نجحت الدولة في تحريره من خاطفيه في العراق إثر ما بذلته من جهود مضنية تستحق التقدير.
لم تسمح الجهات الحكومية المعنية إلا لممثلي الإعلام الرسمي بتغطية الحدث. أما ممثلو الصحف ووسائل الإعلام الأخرى، فقد انتظروا لساعات أمام مطار ماركا، ليعودوا بعد ذلك إلى صحفهم بخفّي حنين.
قرار منع الصحافيين من تغطية حدث بتلك الأهمية خاطئ وتجاوز على حق الصحافة في متابعة الأحداث المرتبطة بالشأن العام. وهو قرار لا ينسجم مع موقف الحكومة المعلن في التعاون مع الصحافة وإزالة العوائق أمام تأديتها عملها بمهنية وحرفية وصدقية.
فكيف ستكون الصحافة مهنية ومقنعة لقارئها ومشاهدها وهي تحرم حقها في متابعة الأحداث؟ وكيف يمكن لقرار المنع هذا أن يعزز صدقية القول الحكومي المؤكِّد دائماً انفتاح مؤسسات الدولة على وسائل الإعلام؟
اضافة إلى ذلك، ماذا كانت ستفعل الحكومة لو قررت الصحف اليومية عدم تغطية الحدث في ردة فعل على تجاوز حقوقها؟ كانت ستعتب، وستغضب، وستتهم الصحافة بعدم القيام بواجبها تجاه المجتمع.
لكن الصحف لم تفعل ذلك. فلقارئها عليها حق. ولوطنها عليها حق. للقارئ حق الحصول على المعلومة من وسائل إعلامه. وللوطن على الصحافة حق الاحتفال بإنقاذ مواطن من خطر موت محدق من خلال أداء متميز تابعه جلالة الملك وتعاونت كل مؤسسات الدولة المعنية على انجازه. بسبب ذلك، أعطت الصحافة الأردنية حدث عودة السعيدات إلى أهله ووطنه ما يستحق من تغطية ومتابعة.
بيد أنه مطلوب من الحكومة أن تتوقف عن اتخاذ قرارات اعتباطية وفوقية في تعاملها مع وسائل الإعلام.
فالحكومة تحتاج الإعلام بنفس القدر الذي يحتاج فيه الإعلام الحكومة. ويجب أن تتسم علاقة الطرفين بوضوح مرتكز إلى أطر مهنية موضوعية محكومة بالقانون والممارسات الملتزمة بالعملية الديمقراطية وما تتطلب من احترام حق الصحافة في الوصول الى المعلومة بحرية، ونقلها للقارئ، أيضا بحرية.


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