As teachers of Jordanian public schools continue their open strike for the fourth day on Tuesday, the Jordanian media outlets' coverage of the news has been in the spotlight.
It all started last week on Thursday when teachers led by the Teachers Association's (JTA) have planned a sit-in to protest the government’s failure to grant promised wage raise for school teachers that was agreed on five years ago, in 2014. Meanwhile, police forces were deployed across the country; mostly in the capital city to block protesters from reaching their meeting point on the 4th Circle, a traditional and contained site for popular protest.
Tensions have escalated quickly then prompting the teachers to go on an open strike starting from the following Sunday until an agreement is reached with the government.
The teachers’ demand and decision to go on a strike were met with popular support around the country as more people stood in solidarity with their fair demands.
Hashtags #مع_المعلم [With the teachers] and #إضراب_المعلم [Teachers’ strike] have gone viral among social media users who started tweeting in solidarity with the protesters demanding social justice and better working conditions for teachers, who shape a massive part of the country and their children’s future.
Translation: “The protest continues. With the teachers, today and every day.”
While opinions were split at first with some Jordanians have expressed a lack of confidence in public schools and their teachers’ qualifications, they were shocked to learn the average salaries teachers receive.
Meanwhile, local media in Jordan have been accused of launching remarkable incitement campaigns against the protesters. It is believed to be government-led.
On Twitter and Facebook, users have pointed out the hypocrisy in the local media coverage of the strike.
على محطات الراديو الزبالة المذيع يصف المعلمين بأنهم دمامل في جسد الوطن وأن أولياء الأمور بدأوا بستاؤون من الإضراب وأن الطلاب في الشارع...— Amer Al Hmoud (@Amer_Hmoud) September 9, 2019
اذا كان المعلمين دمامل في جسد الوطن "كما يدعي" فالأفضل للطلاب أن يبقوا في الشارع.#مع_المعلم#اضراب_الكرامة#اضراب_المعلمين
Translation: “On the radio today, the host described teachers as boils on the national body and talked about how parents are being disappointed. If he thinks as he claims, kids should be kept out of school in the streets.”
Between TV reports showing school kids complain about their teachers’ absence, photos of claimed protests by parents against the teachers’ strike, to radio talk shows condemning the teacher’s attempt to use children as “bargaining chip” to achieve their rights, the local media has been noticeably serving as a propaganda machine.
Translation: “by 10 propagandists and a camera you will get a parents’ protest [against teachers]. What is a silly world we live in?”
One Twitter user shared a screenshot for the state-run TV station after they blocked him after he criticized their failure to cover the protests.
Translation: “Imagine the official state-run TV station, which doesn't provide any coverage, blocking me" because I was my work.
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