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‘Gov’t respects social media freedom, does not tolerate hate speech’

Momani meets social media activists, calls for fact-checking before sharing

By JT - Oct 18,2016 - Last updated at Oct 18,2016

Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani meets with social media activists at the Prime Ministry on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani on Monday affirmed the government’s respect to freedom of the press and social media as aspects of society’s resilience, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported Tuesday. 

At a meeting with “social media activists”at the Prime Ministry, Momani said the government will not allow a minority to use these tools to spread hate speech and discord in society, disseminating rumours and lies that disturb social peace. 

Social media websites fall under the auspices of the communication laws, since they are available for all, not only journalists, Momani, who is also minister of state for media affairs, said, noting that the law criminalises any disorderly conduct or violation through social media websites. 

Using social media tools properly and in a controlled manner makes them a means to serve communities, the spokesperson said, adding that citizens, be they social media activists or journalists, should all be aware enough to differentiate between truth and rumour, urging all to check the information they receive before sharing it. 

Police at the beginning of the month announced the arrest of 16 people suspected of using social media to issue threats or to spread sectarianism and hate speech.

“As part of our ongoing campaign, we arrested 16 individuals, including some who sent threats and hate mail and statements following the murder of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar,” the Public Security Department (PSD) said in a statement at the time.

The individuals were all referred to the prosecutor for further investigation and indictment.

Hattar was gunned down on September 25 on the steps of the Palace of Justice allegedly by Riad Abdullah, 49, a resident of east Amman.

The writer, facing trial for sharing a caricature that was considered insulting to religious beliefs, was apparently on his way to attend a court hearing.

 

Some individuals used social media to praise Abdullah’s alleged crime, while others set up a Facebook page calling for the suspect’s release.

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