Ramadan doesn’t seem to be the ideal month for Jordanians, as they have been overwhelmed with several local issues, including the proposed income tax law and the dismissal of a well-known local journalist, Ahmed Hasan Zoubi from the government-owned Al Rai Newspaper on Monday.
Zoubi’s dismissal drew a public outcry among Jordanians on social media, as he has been known as the voice of weak and poor people in face of the latest "economic reforms" in Jordan. Recently many Jordanians feel under significant financial pressure, by the increase in prices and taxes.
In a post on his own account, Zoubi announced he was dismissed from the newspaper.
Translation: “For the first time in my professional career, my newspaper .. Al-Rai newspaper dismisses me until further notice.”
Reactions on social media protested the arbitrary dismissal of Zoubi, demanding the newspaper clarify all of the reasons behind the layoff.
Meanwhile, hashtag “أحمد_حسن_الزعبي” began trending in Jordan by Tuesday morning.
Translation: “Al-Rai dismissed Ahmed Hasan Zoubi. Although I agree or disagree with this man sometimes on some points, but he has an independent opinion and not hypocrite, and dismissing him for a work-related reasons in Al-Rai is the worst to happen, and it’s shame for all of us.”
Translation: “Why do you think we even open Al-Rai newspaper? Because you are the reason behind its success. It is nothing without you and your articles.. This is real and not just a compliment.”
While Zoubi did not release any more details on the incident, Al-Rai newspaper released on Monday a statement on the incident.
The statement said that Zoubi was fired temporarily until an investigation is confirmed. It all came due to Zoubi’s publishing a letter on his own website, Sawalief. The letter was received by Al-Rai from the head of Amman Chamber of Commerce, Ziad Humsi, in which he complains about Al-Rai's non-compliance with a previous letter sent to them, to publish an advertisement sent by the chamber, which allegedly involved an insult towards the newspaper. However, Zoubi’s behaviour was a violation for the Jordanian Labor Law and the internal regulations of Al-Rai.
Others thought that posts by Zoubi on his own social media accounts, calling Jordanians to participate in a strike planned during the weekend against the increase of fuel prices, could be the reason behind his dismissal from the newspaper.
Translation: “This is the post that was behind dismissing Ahmed Hasan Zoubi from Al-Rai Newspaper.”
In fact, Zoubi’s case brings to mind concerns over the freedom of speech in Jordan, as the Kingdom topped the 4th place among Arab countries in 2017, according to the annual report published by Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2018.
Translation: “My country fights loyal people and depends on the corrupts.”
In support with Zoubi, the cartoonist Omar Al Abdallat, published his cartoon for Tuesday illustrating the journalist with his mouth muffled and a sentence reads: “The Charge: Pen”.
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