AMMAN — A video clip showing a group of former MPs arguing over the Lower House speakership race in 2009 has sparked controversy and denials after being uploaded on YouTube on Sunday evening.
The footage, reportedly by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Arabic service, depicts former MPs Abdul Kareem Dughmi, Atef Tarawneh, Mamdouh Abbadi and Saad Hayel Srour, arguing over the speakership elections, which did not materialise as Parliament was dissolved.
Dughmi, Tarawneh, and Srour are running in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections.
The clip, which has drawn around 150,000 views on YouTube within one day of being posted anonymously on the video-sharing site, has raised eyebrows as the audio appears to include insults against then-interior minister Nayef Qadi.
The YouTube upload also includes a clip of Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Samih Maaytah commenting on the reactions of the parliamentarians to His Majesty King Abdullah’s decision to dissolve the Lower House last year.
In the clip, Maaytah is shown saying that the dissolution was good news for many people and that Dughmi would certainly celebrate it.
The dissolution followed public outcry against deputies then who were viewed as accumulating personal gains and a media campaign against the performance of that House.
Commenting on the video on Monday, Maaytah did not dispute the authenticity of the video but said his statements at the time did not insult or incriminate anyone and questioned the timing of the upload.“This is an outrageous and irresponsible act by whoever posted it on the Internet. For sure this behaviour aims to create problems within society,” he was quoted as saying by news websites.
In a statement to the media, Dughmi said that whoever uploaded the video was targeting his reputation and trying to sabotage his election campaign.
The former MP confirmed that the footage was authentic but claimed that the audio had been dubbed over to make it look as though he were insulting Qadi.
“I have very strong ties with Nayef Qadi and our friendship goes back for many years since he was an ambassador at the Foreign Ministry. This is irresponsible behaviour and I will do everything in my capacity to expose the perpetrators of this outrageous act,” Dughmi said.
Qadi declined to comment on the video.
The video has gone viral on social media, with many users noting that the MPs in the video were gathered to insult fellow politicians over drinks, a fact that was disputed by Dughmi.
Former BBC correspondent Nasser Shadeed, who currently works for the pan-Arab Al Jazeera TV station, was quoted by Ammonnews as saying that he had shot the video at Dughmi’s residence following an interview with Abbadi in 2009, noting that the sound was supposed to be muted.
Shadeed added that the video was the property of the BBC, which he left in February 2010.