Jordan: Journalist Punished for her Work

Jordan: Journalist Punished for her Work

On Tuesday, June 16, journalist Hiba Abu Taha was handed a one-year prison sentence by a Jordanian court for charges related to her journalistic activities and the exercise of her right to freedom of opinion and expression.

It is imperative that the charges against Hiba Abu Taha are dropped immediately, and the ongoing harassment by Jordanian authorities, stemming from her journalistic work, must cease.

Hiba's lawyer, Rami Awadallah, stated that the Amman Magistrate Court sentenced her under Articles 15 and 17 of the Cybercrime Law. However, this ruling is subject to appeal. Hiba Abu Taha faced accusations of inciting discord and spreading false news over the internet.

Hiba Abu Taha was arrested on May 13 and detained at a police station throughout the day based on a report rooted in public law. The report in question contained an investigation and journalistic material concerning the "land bridge" and the export of goods to Israel through Jordanian territory. Additionally, another article written by Hiba discussed the relationship between her country's sovereignty and its foreign policy.

Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and head of Women Journalists Without Chains, expressed her dismay, stating, "It is deeply shameful that Hiba Abu Taha is being punished for her journalistic work, and it reflects a worrying decline in press freedom in Jordan."

Karman further added, "Jordanian authorities must immediately cease their retaliatory actions against journalists, which have intensified over the past years through increasingly repressive measures that undermine freedom in the country."

Women Journalists Without Chains considers the verdict against Hiba Abu Taha as an attack on her journalistic work and her fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression. The organization demands the following:

- The unjust sentence against journalist Hiba Abu Taha, as well as any other sentences imposed on journalists for carrying out their work and expressing their opinions, must be overturned.
- The Cybercrime Law should be amended or replaced to align with Jordan's commitments to press freedom. A new law should be enacted to protect Jordanians' right to information, instead of one that poses a threat to press freedom.
- Provisions or articles in other laws that restrict press freedom and hinder access to information should be thoroughly reviewed.

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