The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the arrest of Roya TV channel owner Fares Sayegh and news director Mohamad al-Khalidi by Jordanian security forces.

The arrest took place on April 10 after the TV channel aired a segment in which people from impoverished neighbourhoods of Jordan’s capital, Amman, were seen complaining about the lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The two media executives were later released on bail on April 11.

“In times of emergency media and the government can and should work together for the common good, but jailing journalists and broadcasters goes against that principle”, IPI Executive Board Vice Chair Daoud Kuttab said. “Roya TV aired the views of the people from the disadvantaged areas of Amman, upholding their right to freedom of expression. Independent journalism might be unpleasant at times, but journalists, editors, and broadcasters should not be punished for doing their job. Journalism is not a crime.”

“The public prosecution at the state security court has ordered the detention of Sayegh and al-Khalidi for 14 days over the airing of a news segment”, Roya TV said in a statement.

IPI urges the Jordanian government to allow journalists to work without fear of reprisal.