Israel’s Detention of Two Jordanians: Minimal Media Coverage with Professional Violations

Akeed – Rasha Salameh

The detention of two Jordanians by Israeli occupation forces in late August and early September received minimal coverage by the media. The reporting was also marked by a breach of journalistic principles, a report by Jordan Media Monitor, Akeed, showed.

Coverage by most local media outlets was limited to publishing a statement issued by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees and the Palestinian Prisoner Club about the detention of Hiba Labadi and Abdul-Rahman Mir’i’. Other reports only published short excerpts from a statement made by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on the efforts of Jordan’s Consul in the two cases. None of the reporters, however, put any extra effort to investigate the cases or to provide any background. They also didn’t see an opportunity to shed light on the issue of Jordanian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

The fact that the reporters made no attempt to contact Jordanian officials for more details and to find out whether or not they undertook the responsibilities assigned to them, is a major breach of journalistic principles, explained Akeed. The online portal described the reporting as cut-and-paste journalism.

Akeed contacted the ministry’s spokesperson Sufian Qudah, who stressed that allegations against the two have not proven true, and that they are both held in administrative detention which is prohibited under international law.

“Jordan demanded their immediate release,” said the official, adding that they should either stand trial based on clear charges, or be released.” He noted that he is in daily contact with the families of the two Jordanian citizens and that Jordan’s Consul visits them and has been following up on their cases. The Jordanian Embassy also arrange for their relatives to visit them and was also in touch with the Jordanian Consul and lawyers, said Qudah.

Another violation detected by Akeed was sharing Labadi’s photos that were posted on social media. It is worth noting that Labadi’s facebook account had been deactivated almost a month before her departure, then reactivated hours after her detention. Her family called on her friends not to post or comment on her facebook page at the moment.

Uploading personal photos posted on a personal account on social media, even if it was done with good intentions, requires permission, explains Akeed.

Some websites briefly mentioned that Labadi started a hunger strike, without identifying the source of the news.

Dailies also briefly reported that a delegation of relatives of Jordanian prisoners held in the occupation’s prisons paid a visit to the ministry demanding the government undertake its responsibilities towards Jordanian prisoners.

Only one report investigated the two cases; the journalist contacted Labadi’s lawyer and her family. He also contacted Mir’i’s family and got permission to publish the latter’s medical report issued by King Hussein Cancer Center. Diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Mir’i underwent several operations, and requires medical examinations every six months, according to the report.

Both Labadai and Mir’i were detained while crossing King Hussein Bridge, while they were on their way to attend family occasions in the West Bank, explained the report.

Akeed urges local media to expand its coverage of Jordanian affairs and causes, instead of quoting other Arab media outlets and organizations. Journalists need to investigate and dig deeper, concludes Akeed.