I was alerted by a reader, Fred, to this article published in the Washington
Jordanian journalists Saturday demanded their Iraqi counterparts admit
their country is occupied, accusing them of promoting the U.S.
presence. The group of Jordanian journalists gathered signatures for
a petition to be presented to the president of the Jordan Press
Association, demanding to respond to Iraqi journalists’ accusations
that the Jordanian press was writing and instigating against the new
conditions in Iraq.
In their petition, the Jordanian journalists insisted Iraq is an Arab
country occupied by a foreign force and Iraqi journalists are
responsible for promoting and supporting that occupation.
If anyone cares to hear my humble opinion, I would say Jordanian
journalists should not meddle with Iraqi affairs in such a way. No
one wants good things for Iraq more than Iraqis themselves. If Iraqis
want to accept the status quo, then this should be respected. Arabs
should really stop meddling in Iraq’s affairs and let the people of Iraq decide
their own fate.
Jeff, not everyone is Al Gahd newspaper. The only thing this is about is jornalism, and journalists are demanding the truth. I dont care what nationality you are, what religion you are. These are journalists demanding the truth. Yes there are good things happening in Iraq, and you know what, that gets reported on all the time. But come on, the picture is not so rosy and all these journalists are doing is asking people to recognize that there is an occupation and that there is a resistance. they are just reporting the facts. to report about the resistance does not mean you are encouraging it. as a journalist you should not be doing this. but to report about it means you are doing your job.
Agreed Linda. Is that the issue, though? There are number of things in play here. First off, is the Iraqi press free? Well, I doubt they enjoy true autonomy and maybe no press is really free, always beholden if not to government then to commercial interests.
But in Iraq there certainly is a degree of influence with the presence of US troops. That said, it’s a world apart from before isn’t it? And I think that in the mix of those papers and TV stations that might be kow-towing to US interests, there are some voices speaking out against the US presence. I think that situation is improving and hopefully will continue to do so.
But the issue here that this article addresses is that Jordanian journalists are sounding off on the quality of reports in Iraq. They are upset that Iraqi journalists were mad at them for supporting the insurgency and think that Iraqi journalists are US pawns.
Well, obviously the Raed al-Banna situation sits squarely in the middle of this. That situation clearly put the Iraqis in a position to critique the Jordanian press. Somewhere something broke in Jordan that let that story, true or not, get published. It was highly inflammatory and completely at odds with Iraq getting back on its feet.
So I think Iraqi journalists had a right to criticize some things coming out of the Jordanian press. But the Jordanian press really has no real place to critique their Iraqi counterparts. To begin with, the Jordanian press is not exactly the best example of journalism, evidenced in al-Banna. It’s a case of those in glass houses not throwing stones.
But generally, do we think that the press and press organs of one nation should be sounding off on the press of another country? I don’t think so. That is not their place. It sings to me of the professional associations. There’s so much frustration and such a lack of outlets in Jordan right now for political discourse it pops out in inappropriate places like this. Since when does a press union pop-up and sound off on the quality of the press in another country?
Well, the Iraqis did it a bit didn’t they? But they had some grounds. First off, let’s just say his name again: Raed al-Banna. But secondly, if the press of another country is actively encouraging an insurgency that is ripping your country apart — at least that’s how you perceive it — then you have some right to say something about that don’t you?
Shoe on the other foot: The Iraqi press is also not encouraging political upstarts and trying to engage the opposition to rise up in Jordan. If they were, then someone in Jordan would surely be right to complain about it and try to stop it. But it shouldn’t be the press association. There are government officials whose job this is.
In essence, Iraq got upset that the Jordanian press was meddling it its affairs. That meddling may be resulting in a longer term US presence and by default a longer period before any resolution between various factions can come about. Who’d want that?
The Iraqis are right. The Jordanian press doesn’t have any place criticizing their actions, right or wrong. And they are in the right place to critique some Jordanian outlets that are encouraging continuing turmoil in their nation. Who are these journalists in the kingdom that are demanding journalists of another country admit to occupation and such? What place do they have to have any involvement whatsoever in the goings-on? And more specifically what place do they have in accelerating problems.
Imagine if your neighbors were encouraging your sons to go against you. They are your family, what business do your neighbors have in this? Your neighbors may not like how you run your family or how you resolve things, but it’s not their family after all; it’s not their affair. Their opinions are better kept to themselves.
Oh dont even get me started Kinzi. LEts say Iraq and its government that is in place right now wanted to free saddam hussein. do you actually think america would let them? ha? thats not running your own government. and things are not so rosy there. Professor Mark Juergensmeyer, who wrote the book Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, just did a guest lecture in my class last week and he just came back from iraq and he said there is a feeling of lawlessness there. everywhere you go you see american soldiers and it when you see them it looks like a “kick me” sign. i can go on and on and on for ever about soldiers who come back to the states and talk about how crazy it is there. but all these journalists are doing is reporting the truth. and if anyone is gonna talk about how great and safe it is in iraq, then i dare them to go live there with out a security convoy, etc.
Linda, that’s the point. What they are asking for is a lie.
Journalists demand the truth. There is nothing wrong with what these journalists in Jordan are asking for.
You’re full of it Moses. Nearly 100% of the news from Iraq by the international media is anti-US. All they do is criticize the ‘occupation’, even when Iraqi bloggers and others post information that contradicts them. A good example from the
category being Chrenkoff:
Bet you won’t even find the supposedly pro-Bush and pro-war Fox News reporting 1/50th of what Chrenkoff does. As for killing journalists… What the hell do you expect when they choose to interview terrorists instead of Iraqis and don’t bother to tell the people that are probably going to be %%#$ shooting at them that they are doing so? The fiction that the occupation is intentionally killing them is pure bullshit. If that where the case, they would start with Al Jazeera and they wouldn’t miss any. I’ll say it again, if any of the ‘occupation’ really was targetting journalists that speak out against them, there wouldn’t be any left in Iraq, since almost none of them *ever* report anything but how supposedly bad things are. Odd how the only Iraqi bloggers that agree with that sentiment turn out to be ex-Ba’athist, radical Islamists or collaterally tied to some terrorist cell…. Gee, must just be an amazing coincidence.
Ummm…legally Iraq is no longer an occupied country. There are U.S. troops there, true, but they are now there at the behest of the various interim, and wholly Iraqi, governing structures. So the situation is less Vichy France and more 1950s West Germany. The U.S. military obviously has influence with the new government, but that influence falls far, far short of control. Additionally, the U.S. badly wants to withdraw its ground forces from Iraqi cities and order-keeping responsibilities. True, we hope to maintain a permanent strategic military presence in Iraq via leased bases away from major cities – as we do in the United Kingdom and Germany and until recently Saudi Arabi – but not a permanent military-political presence.
Bottom line: the Iraqi press has nothing to fear from the United States, and its memberships is in a good position to distinguish that, since they spent decades fearing the Ba’ath Party.
Yea Natasha, risking Metal’s wrath here (but he’s in line in Hollywood to see Star Wars anyway, I bet)but I totally agree with you. Iraqis are now ABLE to say what they feel, and their anger at Jordanian and other Arab media for NOT supporting them is now being heard. The word “occupation” immediately ties hearers with Israel’s occupation of Palestine, which is a completely different issue.
I would have thought the “brotherhood” of fellow journalists would unite them, but I guess good news isn’t news in any country these days.
The current “status quo” in Iraq is similar to the “status quo” in Vichy France. Historically journalists have been unable to criticize occupying regimes without severe reprisals, to expect them to do otherwise is probably over-reaching (the occupiers have killed more than a few journalists).
Its also damn stupid. Every poll taken in Iraq clearly indicates they don’t want the statis quo to continue forever and expect the US to leave. But they are clearly indicated that unlike the various external protestors, news media and otherwise, they are not stupid enough to think they can wave a magic wand and stop every group of idiots trying to tear them apart internally by kicking out the people with the means to help them stop it. But logic isn’t the strong suit of journalists. All too often they either just repeat the same idiotic nonsense as everyone else, like tenticles from some strange beast that can only think one thing at a time and has a mouth on the end of each tenticle, or they are controlled by someone, who dictate what they report. Actually ‘thinking’ doesn’t seem to ever be involved, they leave that up to the various ‘experts’ they parade around. Sadly, too often those experts are merely advocates of the most radical extremes of any given situation as well. Normal people are just to common to report about…
Not that I am biased against news agencies or anything…