Journalists threatened in Jordan

Reporters in Jordan have been receiving phone calls and emails threatening physical harm unless they stop covering the reform movement in the kingdom, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

"The situation is no longer about censorship or repressive legislation – the danger has become personal," a local journalist told the New York-based organisation.

The head of al-Jazeera's Amman bureau, Yasser Abu Hilala, is among those who have received death threats which he says began two weeks ago after the TV channel covered pro-reform demonstrations in the capital. "Our coverage is the only reason behind the threats," he said.

On March 25, various journalists and bloggers were attacked while attempting to report a demonstration in Amman. CPJ says:

"Al-Jazeera cameraman Ahmad Najeeb was hit while filming the demonstration and an ensuing crackdown by security forces. His camera was briefly seized and the footage deleted, Najeeb told CPJ. Al-Arabiya correspondent Saad al-Silawi was pushed while he and his crew were filming a live segment and were forced to stop their recording midway, al-Silawi told CPJ. 

"Blogger Mohamad Omar was beaten by security forces, resulting in a broken arm, Omar told CPJ. It was not clear to him whether he had been beaten simply because he was a participant in the demonstration or if he was targeted in reprisal for his critical online writings. 

"Aziza Ali, a reporter with the daily Al-Ghad, was beaten by security forces as she was reporting and taking pictures of the demonstration and the government's response, she told CPJ. She suffered from a broken pelvic bone and was taken to a hospital. Mutaz Naawash and Mohamad Abu Eid, both reporters for Hayat Radio, were also assaulted during the demonstration, Ali told CPJ. She said that both had been hurt but could not be certain of the extent of their injuries."

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 6 April 2011