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Royal Court orders newspaper to remove critical article from website

(ANHRI/IFEX) – 22 March 2012 – ANHRI said today that the article “We will not live in a stupid man's robe”, which was written by journalist Mohamed Habshaneh and published in the al-Arab al-Yawm newspaper on 20 March 2012, was withdrawn from the newspaper's website after it was pressured to do so by the Jordanian Royal Court. This incident reveals the pressures and censorship used against journalists and counters the claim of the Jordanian government that it protects press freedom and freedom of expression.

In his article, Habshaneh criticized the Jordanian government's handling of the protests in the city of al-Tafila, and the widespread unemployment and corruption. The Royal Court, which resented the author's bold criticism, put pressure on the newspaper to remove the article from its website and summoned its editorial board. The editorial board reportedly refused to expel Huda al-Sarhan, the journalist responsible for publishing the article.

“In a country where citizens are detained on charges of disrespecting the king, dozens are repressed and detained for criticizing corruption, the Royal Palace is outraged by a single opinion piece. The pressure faced by editorial board of one of the major Jordanian newspapers clearly demonstrates that any talk about freedom of expression and the press from the authorities is pure nonsense and is based on artificial claims. The Jordanian people still have a long way to go in order to realize their right to an independent press that is able to freely express criticism,” said ANHRI.

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