The Jordanian government has barred the Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite channel from airing a special report on an alleged official plan to raise the price of oil products.
The government move is reportedly aimed at heading off reactions from opposition political and business groups.
A reporter at Al Jazeera’s Amman office told Albawaba.com that “they apologized the first time for not sending the report on the government’s intention to increase the prices of oil products in Jordan [blaming a] technical problem, but they surprised us later by airing other reports on another channel.”
Repeated attempts by Albawaba.com to reach Jordan TV for comment were unsuccessful.
“When we protested against this action, [Jordan TV] justified its stance by asking us to wait our turn again, after the problem had been repaired,” said the source. “They apologized for the third time, saying that…higher authorities ordered them not to air such news reports.”
“This is the first time the Jordanian government has prevented Al Jazeera from airing a news report from Jordan, but it was not the first time Al Jazeera camera crews have been harassed, since the Jordanian government has expressed its dissatisfaction with us from time to time,” added the reporter.
He said the government was concerned about any incident that could lead to confrontations like those that took place in 1996, when bread prices were increased.
The source added that “the harassment which our office faces range from threats of closure to the suspension of some of our employees because they are not members of the Jordanian press association.”
Sources close to the Jordanian government confirmed to Al Bawaba.com that the Jordanian government intended to increase the prices of oil products in step with international oil prices.
Former Jordanian lawmaker Salameh Al Hiyari and a number of other politicians have warned against this price hike, particularly in view of Jordan’s economic slump, reiterating that such government moves aimed at a balanced budget would lead to domestic instability.
Jordan obtains its oil needs from Iraq at special prices according to a special protocol endorsed by the United Nations - Albawaba.com