Jordan king denounces attacks on journalists
AMMAN (BNO NEWS) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday condemned a police attack on journalists during a pro-reform rally in downtown Amman last week, Ammon News reported.
King Abdullah stressed strong disapproval of prejudice against journalists and confirmed that justice will be served according to implementation of the law during a meeting with Head of the Jordanian Press Association (JPA) Tareq Al Momani.
He also said that the violent events do not represent the work of the Public Security Directorate (PSD) and stressed the important role of the press. The King added that he will direct the government and security forces to implement measures to guarantee the safety of journalists and media personnel during their coverage of various events in the country.
Meanwhile, the PSD said that the results of a probe into the violent attacks concluded that it was protestors that instigated the violence against security forces. The investigation held the protestors responsible for the violent events, claiming that security forces were “forced to respond and beat the protestors back.”
According to the 8-page report, an estimated 350 protesters instigated the 800-plus security forces by hitting them and insulting them with offensive language.
The Investigation committee, however, recommended reprimanding security personnel found to have used excessive force against protestors and journalists.
The report also noted that PSD takes full responsibility for the medical treatment of injured journalists and compensation for their destroyed or lost equipment and cameras.
At least 10 journalists were injured when policemen tried to disperse protesters in the demonstration organized by a coalition of youth activists, also known as July 15. Several cameras were also destroyed or confiscated as journalists covered the pro-reform demonstration in downtown Amman.
Video footage and photographs showed security forces beating protestors with metal batons, wooden sticks, and barbecue grills and tools found at a nearby store.
Many of the journalists were wearing bright orange vests with clearly marked “PRESS” logos that were distributed by the PSD, which asked journalists to wear them in an effort to distinguish them from protestors in case clashes erupted.
The results of the probe were rejected by pro-reform activists and members of the July 15th coalition. Over 100 activists on Wednesday evening protested in front of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Amman expressing rejection of the probe launched by PSD rather than an independent panel.
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