AMMAN — Jordan's Information Minister Taher Adwan said on Tuesday he has resigned because of laws he deemed "restrictive for freedom of expression."
"I submitted my resignation today to Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit in protest at a government decision" to debate new press and publication laws in parliament that he opposed, Adwan told AFP.
"In addition, MPs will debate proposed anti-corruption and penal laws. I consider these laws restrictive for freedom of expression."
King Abdullah II on Monday ordered parliament to convene in an extraordinary session from Wednesday to discuss a series of temporary laws.
Describing the proposed legislation as a "blow to the reform drive" and "martial laws," Adwan, who joined the government in February, condemned "the repeated attacks on journalists who are doing their professional duties."
"Such attacks completely contradict political reform efforts, which cannot be achieved without a democratic climate of press freedom," Adwan said in a statement to AFP.
Adwan has condemned an attack on AFP in which 10 men broke into its Amman offices on Wednesday and destroyed furniture and equipment, after the news agency was among several foreign media to report that part of the king's motorcade had been stoned during a visit to a southern city.
The reports were vigorously denied by the palace, government officials and MPs from the city.
"Violence against journalists and their offices cannot be justified, under the pretext of loyalty and nationalism," said Adwan, a veteran journalist who was the editor of Al-Arab Al-Yawm independent daily.
"There is leniency towards attacks on the media that are being exploited to create chaos in the country, which could lead it to the same swamps in which some regional regimes have drowned."
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