Press freedom watchdog releases annual report

Amman (Petra) – The Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) on Saturday released its 2013 report to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

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The report, brought out every year by the CDFJ for 12 years now, tackles the state of press legislation, noting a "clear decline in systematic violations seen during Arab Spring revolts and protests that swept the Arab world."

However, it recorded a high of 91.3 per cent in instances of media self-censorship, particularly regarding news commentaries, due to restrictions introduced by the new Press and Publications Law.

However, it also pointed to a dramatic decline in cases of ban on news coverage, detention of journalists and trials before the state security court along with an increase in cases where those affected chose to resort to the law.

The report was based on a study the CDFJ had conducted to explore the content and forms of bigoted speech, sectarian incitement and discrimination in the Arab Spring media. It was also aimed to gauge whether those standards met world-class criteria or the media had been involved in the political and sectarian conflicts in Arab Spring countries.

The report also showed that journalists had, by a large extent, steered away from criticising the armed forces and security agencies, the judiciary and leaders of Jordanian tribes as well as dealing with highly-emotive religious matters.

Established in 1998 as a non-governmental organisation, the CDFJ seeks to defend Jordanian and Arab journalists and their freedom and rights and develop the Arab media sector.