Jordan Journalists Protest Police Attacks on Media
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Amman - Scores of journalists demonstrated in front of the Jordan Press Association (JPA) office in Amman on Sunday to protest police attacks on media personnel during a peaceful pro-reform rally two days earlier.
At least 20 people, including 10 journalists, were hurt when policemen used force Friday to disperse hundreds of activists who belonged to a coalition of youth movements calling themselves the July 15 gathering.
The dispersed demonstration resumed outside the premier's office on Saturday to press demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit's government for its failure to carry out political reforms.
Addressing the Sunday protest, JPA President Tareq Momani said that the journalists fell into a police 'trap' on Friday after they were provided with vests to enable policemen to distinguish them from other protesters in line with a prior agreement reached with the Public Security Directorate (PSD).
He said the association intended to pursue judicial proceedings against the PSD and urged targeted journalists to file lawsuits.
The PSD said on Saturday that it had detained four policemen for suspected involvement in beating media men and set up an investigation committee.
But Momani described the move as insufficient and demanded the trial of 'scores' of policemen who were involved in attacks against journalists and protesters and the setting up of an independent panel to investigate the incident.
Also on Sunday, the state-funded National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) condemned the attacks on journalists and protesters, saying what happened 'violated the commitment to protect citizens' constitutional right in peaceful gathering and freedom of expression'.
'The police attacks on journalists represent a serious phenomenon that runs counter to the government's role in shoring up the freedom of expression as well as flagrant aggression on the right of the media personnel to report facts to the public opinion in a transparent manner,' the watchdog said.
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