National Press Club urges Obama administration to press Jordan on censorship
June 7, 2013 | By John M. Donnelly | JDonnelly@cq.com
The National Press Club joins other national and international news organizations in calling on the government of Jordan to reverse its decision to block more than 200 news websites and to revoke the law upon which it was based, which requires the licensing of journalists in the country.
In addition, the Club calls upon the United States government to support freedom of the press in Jordan, exercising the influence it has as a major provider of foreign aid to the Hashemite Kingdom. This year, U.S. taxpayers are scheduled to send $670 million in aid to Jordan -- $25 million of which is dedicated to “democracy, human rights and governance.”
NPC President Angela Greiling Keane challenged President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to speak out against this press censorship by a key U.S. ally.
“President Obama and Secretary Kerry, whose public careers owe much to the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement of the turbulent 1960s, should know better than most the value of robust, unfettered public debate,” Greiling Keane said. “They should use their influence to promote this key American value abroad.”
According to press accounts, Jordanian officials have moved to block Internet publications that are critical of the government. The move took place just two weeks after the International Press Institute held its annual World Congress in Amman. Among the websites shuttered by Jordanian authorities was AmmanNet, founded by Daoud Kuttab, a member of the International Press Institute’s executive board. Kuttab is a former visiting professor at Princeton University.