Jordanian Media Under Fire for Disregarding Local Protests and Arrests Reported by International Outlets

Published July 30th, 2020 - 06:31 GMT
Jordanian Media Under Fire for Disregarding Local Protests and Arrests Reported by International Outlets
Teacher's latest protest came only days after a government crackdown against teachers' syndicate. (Twitter: @skayyali1)

Jordan's hottest week of the year didn't only witness boiling temperatures, but also streets. As thousands of Jordanian teachers took to the streets protesting a government surprising decision to close their syndicate for two years and arresting board members. More surprising was the complete absence of local reporting on protests which shocked Jordanian commentators.

Hours before the teachers' protest was supposed to assemble near the prime minister's office in Amman, anti-riot police flooded the nearby streets and blocked roads leading to the protest's planned location. Consequently, organizers sent an online call for teachers to group in a close-by area.

Police forces continued to push protesters away and reportedly beat and arrested about 300 participants for several hours and only released them after the protesters left.

Yet, social media users pointed at the complete absence of local media outlets, which didn't report any news related to the demonstration. Most international media, however, had covered it despite police attempts to remove all photos and footage taken by journalists.

Translation: "Al Mamalaka and Roya TV have been banned from covering teachers' protests today under threat of prosecution."

Translation: "They did everything so the world doesn't get to see this. Now this is a headline in the US biggest newspaper"

Despite a government warning of "groupings of more than 20 people" citing Coronavirus restrictions prior to the demonstration, many social media users noted that a similar government approach was taken last September when teachers had called for a protest to announce a month-long strike in demand of salary-increases; suggesting that "it has nothing to do with COVID-19 and that the government doesn't tolerate strong civil society organizations voicing out public demands."

The teachers' latest protest came only days after a government crackdown against teachers' syndicate citing "financial corruption and affiliation with illegal entities." 

Several local analysts have argued that the real motive behind the crackdown is "to teach the civil society a lesson to never challenge the government again," especially after teachers' month-long strike last fall had forced the government to agree to a pay deal in an attempt to end the country's longest strike.


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