Information Ministry Bans Weekly from Publication until New Editor Named
Jordanian Information Minister Taleb Rifai has banned a weekly newspaper from publishing until it replaces its editor, who has been expelled from the Jordanian journalists union for life, the newspaper said on Wednesday.
"This decision is a violation of all freedoms and undermines democracy," a spokesman for the independent weekly Al-Hadath told AFP a day after receiving the official notification.
"We are examining the legal procedures we can take to fight this decision," the spokesman said.
The spokesman argued that editor-in-chief Nidal Mansur had appealed the ban issued against him by the journalists' union and was still awaiting a verdict from the court.
"Until then no decisions to stop us from publication can be taken," the spokesman said. Al-Hadath appears on Mondays, and the last issue was published December 11.
But a letter from Rifai to the newspaper dated December 12 appears to uphold the decision taken in September by the journalists union to ban for life Mansur, thus effectively preventing him from working in Jordan.
"We have decided to ban publication of Al Hadath weekly newspaper until ... the nomination of a new editor-in-chief to replace Mr. Nidal Mansur," said the official notification, according to a copy received by AFP.
The statement said this decision was in line with the law, "since the newspaper has lost its editor".
The union has accused Mansur of receiving "suspect" foreign funds for the Center for the Defence of the Freedom of Journalists, which he heads in violation of union laws.
According to the union, members must be full-time journalists and have no other occupation.
Mansur's human rights center is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to provide journalists with legal assistance, a data bank and training. He has denied any wrongdoing -- AMMAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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