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Court to begin hearing case against journalist for ‘insulting video’ mid-October

By Rana Husseini - Oct 05,2017 - Last updated at Oct 05,2017

AMMAN — The Court of First Instance in mid-October will start hearing a case against a local journalist who reportedly posted a video on his Facebook page earlier last month, which was considered “insulting” and “derogatory” to women in Jordan.

Mohammad Qadah said he was informed of the court date of October 18, where he will be charged with slander, incitement and defamation using electronic means and instigating violence.

“I was notified through my lawyer, Wadah Nasser, of the charges and the date of the court session,” Qadah told The Jordan Times over the phone.

If convicted of the charges, Qadah, who pleaded not guilty during questioning by the prosecutor a few months ago, could face three years in prison. 

In a 14-minute video clip posted on Facebook on July 3, the journalist allegedly described some Jordanian women as “milking cows” and claimed that the “way they dressed, by exposing parts of their bodies is against religion and the values of our conservative society and encourages prostitution, adultery and rape in the country”.

 The journalist also said that “ugly women, who look like my shoes, resort to wearing exposed clothes to attract men, while others wear tight jeans exposing their bottom as a bomb”.

He also reportedly addressed Jordanian men in the video clip and criticised them for “failing to prevent their women from leaving their homes with exposed clothes”. 

“Fathers and brothers... where is your honour and dignity? You should prevent your female relatives from wearing such clothes and going out to seduce men. The weather is hot already,” he reportedly said in the video clip.

“I believe I used the wrong terminology in some instances but my video is true and there are a few women who wear clothes that are against the religion. We are an Oriental society and very conservative.  Women should wear decent clothes,” Qadah said.

He added that he was surprised to be charged “because he did not name any woman in his video and was speaking in general”.

Nevertheless, Qadah said he fully respects the judiciary in Jordan and is certain that “he will get a fair trial”.

“I respect women in Jordan and I never meant to insult them.  I only meant it as an advice. But, at the same time, I am against women who attempt to assume a role that is for men or act in a Western fashion.  They cannot do that in our conservative and Eastern society,” Qadah said.

Following the viral spread of Qadah’s video, his followers increased from 40,000 to 48,000.  To this day, Qadah has almost 57,000 followers. He later apologised, saying “he most probably used the wrong terms, but still sticks to his opinion regarding women’s dress styles”.

“I would like to thank the people who acted against me to file a lawsuit.  They in fact increased my number of followers on Facebook and other social media and helped me with my career,” Qadah added.

The journalist used to host a weekly show on the Josat satellite channel, but the owners of the channel decided to indefinitely suspend his programme after the incident.

Many of his followers supported his criticism “of how women dressed and found no harm in what he said”.

Others heavily criticised him for the way he portrayed women in Jordan and for connecting the way they dressed “with honour, reputation, and encouraging rape and harassment against them”.

The video and the apology released later on prompted 16 individuals to file a case against Qadah as they felt that his remarks in the widely-circulated video would “instigate physical violence and harm against a large section of women in society, while also slandering them and their reputation”.

At the same time, they stressed that they are in favour of “freedom of expression, as long as it is in accordance with the law”.

 

“Our target is not to imprison him. We just want to ensure that no one will be encouraging assaults against women because this is what his video sought to insinuate,” one of the individuals who filed a lawsuit against Qadah told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

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