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Columnist detained over Facebook article; syndicate calls for his release

By Mohammad Ghazal - Aug 17,2014 - Last updated at Aug 17,2014

AMMAN — The Jordan Press Association (JPA) on Sunday called for the release of Al Rai columnist Abdulhadi Raji Majali who was detained over an article he posted on Facebook.

“We are following up on the issue and we call for his immediate release,” JPA President Tareq Momani told The Jordan Times.

The Amman prosecutor general on Sunday decided to detain Majali, who is also director of Al Hussein Cultural Centre, for one week at the Marka Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre for an item he posted on Facebook related to the media approach of the government and security forces in the wake of the March 24 protest at the Interior Ministry Circle in 2011, which ended violently.

“We expect that Majali will be released on Monday. We are doing our best,” Momani said, noting that the JPA rejects the detention of journalists over published material in line with the Press and Publications Law and the Constitution.

“The detention contradicts Jordan’s reform efforts and its repeated commitments to end penalties and remove laws that hamper press freedom,” he added.

The JPA, which voiced its respect for the judiciary and its decision, said detaining journalists in cases related to publications is against media freedom.

At the same time, Momani said the association rejects any violation of the ethics and values of the profession or the law and supports the rights of any entity to resort to the judiciary. 

Jordan witnessed a decline in several local and international reports on media freedoms over the past year.

The Kingdom ranked 155th out of 197 countries in Freedom House’s “Freedom of the Press 2014” report, falling by 10 places compared to last year.

In the report, Jordan received a press freedom score of 68 and was classified as a “Not Free” country when it comes to media freedom.

In the 2013 report, Jordan was ranked 145th globally and had a press freedom score of 63.

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