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Three journalists released on bail after detention over alleged slander

By Omar Obeidat - Nov 19,2015 - Last updated at Nov 19,2015

AMMAN — Three journalists, detained on Monday on alleged libel charges, were released on Wednesday after being bailed out by Jordan Press Association (JPA) President Tareq Momani. 

Dhaigham Khreisat, publisher of Al Hayat newspaper and website, Diyaa Khreisat, its chief editor, and Ramez Abu Yousef, its managing editor left Marka prison after the Amman Court of First Instance approved the bail request, Momani told The Jordan Times.

The Amman prosecutor general on Monday ordered the detention of the three journalists for a week as the director of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau, Nufan Ajarmeh, filed a complaint against them for allegedly insulting him in an article published on the news website. 

An informed source told The Jordan Times that the article carried libellous and slanderous content against Ajarmeh, a former prime minister and other officials. 

“It was character assassination,” the source said, referring to the article. 

The JPA and the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) criticised their detention and demanded their release in accordance with the Press and Publications Law that does not allow detention for a publication case.

The JPA and the CDFJ have criticised a recent decision by the Law Interpretation Bureau ruling that slander on news websites and social networking sites is covered by the Electronic Crimes Law, opening the door for the detention of media practitioners.

The ruling, which stated that Article 11 of the Electronic Crimes Law applies in cases of online slander, was made after Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour requested an interpretation by the bureau on whether the Press and Publications Law or the Electronic Crimes Law could apply to such crimes.

 

The CDFJ says the Press and Publications Law, which bans the detention of journalists, should apply in cases of publications.

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