By Iqbal Tamimi
Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK condemns the attack on Al Quds Satellite Channel crew during a rally in Amman, the capital city of Jordan on 14 May.
Rasha Wahsh, Al Quds correspondent in Amman, and her colleague, the photographer accompanying her, Abdullah Rawashdeh, were both beaten by unidentified assailants, who also broke their camera and tried to seize the tape that captured the details of the attack.
Wahsh told the CDFJ, the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, that she and Rawashdeh were attacked after recording a dispute between two groups at a march that was held in the Jordan Valley town of Karameh to mark the anniversary of the Nakbeh (catastrophe) of 1948. The Nakbeh marked the creation of the state of Israel, and the exodus of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees following the massacres committed by the Zionist gangsters against the unarmed Palestinian families.
According to Laila Azzeh, a female reporter working for the Jordan Times daily, CDFJ said that several eyewitnesses claimed that the perpetrators were members of the security forces.
In a statement sent to the Jordan Times, the CDFJ denounced the attack, and called on the government to shoulder its responsibilities in protecting journalists and hold the attackers accountable.
CDFJ Director Nidal Mansour voiced his deep concerns over the “continued” assaults on media personnel, stressing that “this is the right time for the government to prove its seriousness in supporting the freedom of the media”.
On the other hand the Jordan Press Association (JPA) President Tareq Momani told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday that the attack “contradicts” the comprehensive reform process the Kingdom is embarking on. He called for a law that criminalises such acts. “The concerned authorities should take the responsibility of protecting journalists from such attacks,” he added.
Director of Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK, Iqbal Tamimi, condemned the attack and said: ‘I regret that such incidents are still happening. I call upon the Jordanian authorities to put an end to such assaults on journalists and provide them with the security and safety needed to help them execute their duties, and to investigate this unfortunate violent attack and hold whoever is responsible accountable’.
Also in the UK, Paul Breeden, chair of the Bristol branch of the National Union of Journalists, said: “Journalists are performing an essential role in documenting the rapidly changing political landscape in many parts of the Arab world. On occasions this demands great courage when the journalists themselves become the targets of violence.
“It is essential that governments are held to account when journalists are not protected in carrying out their jobs, especially when – as appears to be the case in Jordan yesterday – the security forces contribute to the violence.
“I commend Iqbal Tamimi and the important work of the Arab Women Media Watch Centre in bringing these abuses to wider attention because it is vital that governments understand that attacks on journalists will not go unchallenged.”