Jordanian MP Khalil Atiyeh said Saturday that he will sue journalist Ibrahim Qbeilat for “defamatory” remarks and “baseless” accusations he made in an opinion piece.
Local news websites published an op-ed by Qbeilat in which he criticised Atiyyeh for never championing the currently suspended Al Arab Al Yawm daily the way he has been supporting Alquds Alarabi newspaper.
Qbeilat also claimed that Atiyeh has remained silent towards the cause of Al Arab Al Yawm although it was a national newspaper whose lay offs and then closure have deeply harmed dozens of Jordanian families.
During last week’s Lower House session, Atiyeh called on the government to lift the ban imposed on the publication of Alquds Alarabi Arab daily, reminding the government of its pledges to defend press freedom.
In remarks to The Jordan Times, Atiyeh said he “relentlessly” defended Al Arab Al Yawm during the time it suffered from financial and administrative problems that led to its closure last year.
“You can Google that,” he said. “I was the most outspoken MP defending Al Arab Al Yawm under the Dome and elsewhere.”
“Now, the issue of Al Arab Al Yawm’s dismissed journalists is being looked into by the judiciary and, under the Constitution, I cannot interfere.”
Qbeilat ended his article by charging that the Elections Law brings “incompetent” MPs to the House, who are incapable of handling decisive matters and whose main concern is to serve their voters and regions.
“Anybody who reads this concluding sentence will understand that the writer has classified me as an incompetent deputy,” Atiyeh said.
“What about the 20,000 citizens who voted for me? Are they all ignorant?” he asked.
“Unless Qbeilat apologises, I will move ahead with a lawsuit against him. This is my right,” the MP said.
By Raed Omari
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