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Jordanian security forces raid daily newspaper's headquarters

UDPATE: ANHRI declares its solidarity with the striking journalists of Alrai Newspaper in Jordan (ANHRI, 12 November 2013)

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the Jordanian security forces for storming the headquarters of Alrai daily newspaper on 6 November. The authorities claim that they entered the premises based on a request from the newspaper's chairman who allegedly wanted to secure the safe exit of members of the board.

On that day, employees of the newspaper were protesting what they called government intervention into the work of the newspaper. Journalists announced that they were refusing to publish any news on the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and his cabinet until their demands are met. Security forces entered the building and spread across the different rooms violating the newspaper's privacy.

Earlier on October 28, Alrai journalists formed a human chain on Queen Rania St. in Amman to protest against the government's meddling in the editorial, administrative and financial states of the newspaper. In a released statement, they condemned the government's interferences in the newspaper based on the unjustified hiring of certain groups of people and the higher salaries afforded to those affiliated with the goverment. In the statement, they also accused Ensour of overlooking and ignoring to investigate the costs of a publishing house project, which are said to have exceeded $US 50 million.

"The raid on Alrai newspaper's headquarters by the Jordanian security forces, in a bid to repress the journalists' protests, is a flagrant violation of press freedoms, even though it was based on the chairman's demand," said ANHRI. "This raises doubts over the future of the press in Jordan, which has witnessed a few setbacks in the past couple of months particularly after the enacting of the Press and Publications Law that restricts digital rights."

The Jordanian authorities had blocked more than 200 news websites over the past few months under the pretext of enforcing the Press and Publications Law. ANHRI calls on the Jordanian authorities to urgently open an investigation into this most recent incident in which security forces raided the headquarters of one of the most established newspapers in Jordan.

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