The speaker of the house, Abdulhadi Majali, has given a press conference highlighting the achievements of parliament during the extraordinary session. He also threatened the press, saying that parliament might issue press restricting legislation if journalists keep criticizing the MP’s.
Since then, there have been numerous criticisms of Majali’s threat from the press. In Al Ghad, Samih Maitah said that parliament’s problem is not with the press, but with poor performance during the discussions of legislation. That, and weak understanding of the implications of the modifications that were passed, led them to reverse themselves after the changes were rejected by the senate. Jamil Nimri, also at Al Ghad, was slightly more conciliatory, suggested that the parliament should use public relations, like everybody else.
Nabil Ghishan, at Al Arab Al Yawm, stated the obvious by saying that nobody should be immune from criticism. He also said that freedom of the press is a right for the public, and not simply a right for journalists. At the same newspaper, Fahd Khitan pointed out that the government gets much greater criticism from the press than the parliament, and that the parliament shouldn’t think about being vindictive.
Omar Kullab at Al Anbat suggested that this picture of a dog in a kitchen standing over a stove was what triggered Majali’s anger. The dog is saying “I am faster than the MP’s in cooking [laws]”. Kullab jokingly suggests that Al Anbat will get Brigitte Bardot to defend the press in Jordan, since the parliament is obviously against animals.
Even the bastion of free expression, the IAF, got on the bandwagon. In a statement, the secretary general of the party, Zaki Bani Irshaid said that democracy can not be complete without a free press.
Notably quiet were Al Dustour and Al Rai. Well, at least some people can be cowed.
Too bad Majali can’t call in the security forces to shoot the dissenters. It worked so well in the past, back during the simpler days of martial law.