The United Nations is like Woodstock for hypocrisy. Every horrible dictatorship can send its representative to lecture the United States and Israel about human rights. I’m only surprised that ISIS still hasn’t shown up to be elected to a panel on gay rights and fighting sex trafficking. So we’ll have to settle for the next best thing. A member of the royal family from a terror state lecturing us on press freedoms.
Donald Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is “very close to incitement to violence” that would lead to journalists censoring themselves or being attacked, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner has said.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and diplomat, is stepping down this month as UN high commissioner for human rights after deciding not to stand for a second four-year term, in the face of a waning commitment among world powers to fighting abuses.
Zeid said the Trump administration’s lack of concern about human rights marked a distinct break with previous administrations, and that Trump’s own rhetoric aimed at minorities and at the press was redolent of two of the worst eras of the 20th century, the run-up to the two world wars.
In an interview with the Guardian, he singled out the US president’s repeated designation of the press as “the enemy of the people”.
“We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” Zeid said. “And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”
Emphasis: Jordanian prince.
Here’s Jordan’s freedom of the press.
The constitution guarantees freedoms of speech and expression, but press laws contain vague clauses that restrict media activity in practice. Journalists can be prosecuted under the penal code or tried by the quasi-military State Security Court (SSC) for offenses involving speech and association. A 2011 amendment to the country’s main anticorruption law criminalized reporting on corruption without sufficient proof of wrongdoing, including news that defames someone or “impacts his dignity.” The 1998 Press and Publications Law prescribes fines of almost $40,000 for speech that denigrates the government or religion. A 2010 amendment to the law established specialized courts to prosecute press violations.
Further changes to the Press and Publications Law were passed in 2012, imposing restrictions on online news content and requiring news websites to obtain licenses to operate. The amendments apply the law’s existing provisions to websites, making it unlawful for online outlets to insult the royal family, harm “Arab-Islamic values,” or incite sectarian strife.
If your kettle is black and you live in a glass house, maybe you should stop lecturing the United States. Either that or get a job at the UN.
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