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Study finds press freedom violations increased in 2012

By Hani Hazaimeh - Dec 24,2012 - Last updated at Dec 24,2012

AMMAN — The number of press freedom violations in Jordan increased from 87 in 2011 to 96 in 2012, with government interference accounting for the rise, according to a new study by a press freedom advocacy centre.

According to the study by Al Quds Centre for Political Studies, ill-treatment, threats and physical assault against journalists were the most common violations although their number declined, with 33 cases reported this year compared to 45 in 2011, but 29 cases of government interference in media affairs were registered in 2012 versus 13 cases in 2011.

The report highlighted 19 incidents in which police or other security personnel verbally or physically abused journalists reporting on demonstrations, adding that in none of these cases were the security officers in question held accountable.

The centre attributed the persistence of these offences by security bodies to authorities’ reluctance to investigate alleged violations of human rights in general or press freedom in particular.

The study also recorded seven violations by legislators, citing a case in which a senator allegedly called two reporters covering the Senate “hypocrites and opportunists”, in addition to another case in which an MP swore at journalists covering a Lower House session.

In its recommendations, Al Quds Centre called on the agencies concerned with press freedom, including the Jordan Press Association, to establish a database of press freedom violations and to follow up on complaints by members of the press.

The study also called on security agencies to punish individuals who violate freedom of the media, stressing that leniency encourages others to commit these violations.

A separate study by the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, released in May, counted 106 press freedom violations in 2011.

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