Friday, January 16, 2015

16-Jan-15: They're incubating terror-minded journalists in Jordan

CNN's Jim Clancy, internationally renowned journalist and news anchor,
speaks to Jordan Media Institute journalists during a May 2013 visit
[Image Source]. We mention him in the footnote at the end of this post. 
We wrote here over the past five weeks about some outrageous developments at a graduate school for aspiring journalists in Jordan founded by a former CNN on-camera reporter with the very considerable help of a number of Western governments, NGOs and corporate donors. 
10-Dec-14: In the Arab world's most promising new journalism school, a passion for murder and hatred | 11-Dec-14: Is it newsworthy when journalists make a terror-addicted murdering colleague their role-model? | 11-Jan-15: Does the king need to fly to Paris to stand with terror victims? He can do it better back in Jordan
Without retelling the story in detail, it's about an attempt to graft Western journalistic values onto a cadre of Arab journalists most of whom live and work in a country that the respected human rights watchdog organization Freedom House (in its 2014 update) calls “Not Free” with a score of 6 on a scale of 7 for freedom of the press. (7 is the worst score.) 

And Jordan is not on the road to getting better just yet. 

Reporters Without Frontiers, which also tracks press freedom, says Jordan’s authorities further tightened their existing grip on its media in the past year. Not a happy place in which to live or work.

So all things considered, the students fortunate enough to be accepted into the Jordan Media Institute are the beneficiaries of considerable foreign largesse, goodwill, sponsorship, guidance and opportunity. This is sure to turn them into reporters that any great metropolitan newspaper would be proud of, right?

No, not so right. As we wrote here last month:
Visit the homepage of the JMI website and you see a button that links to a related website hosting the work-product of JMI’s own cadre of young journalists. It's in Arabic only, naturally enough; these contents are not meant for the Western sponsors and international partners. But intentionally or not, it is these pages – along with the invaluable help of Google Translate’s Arabic-to-English service - that shine a revealing light for non-Arabic speakers like us on what all that NGO and government money, inspiration and support is enabling for this “unparalleled centre of excellence in the Middle East”. On every page of the site, under the headline “Success Models”, a journalist called Tamimi is profiled. She is the murderer of our daughter, Malki.
In the weeks since then, we have made efforts to reveal this to the providers of “in-kind, financial or technical assistance” whose names and symbols or logos appear on the JMI's trophy wall here. A partial list includes these names:
We have already made direct contact with all of them. Some have responded with great understanding, and have told us what they plan to do. Others - well, we plan to write about them soon.

Meanwhile, the JMI carried out a bogus exercise in hiding the offensive article by taking the site itself down, and then removed it from the site. (You can still it here. We took the trouble to ensure it remains archived and accessible, realizing that it might get hidden at some point, as indeed it was.)

We learned a few days ago that there has now been an official response by the JMI to the charges we published about their incubation of a new generation of young, terrorism-loving media professionals. In fact, we're told the JMI has published a retraction of their Ahlam Tamimi "success model" article on January 7, 2015 (here). 

But it's what it seems. And not close to what their supporters expected it to be and what their advisers thought they ought to do:
  • It is in Arabic only.
  • It appears only on the JMI Journalists website.
  • No reference to it appears on the JMI's main site - the one that's English-language and sponsor-focused
  • It mentions nothing about murder, terror, jihad, anti-semitism, hatred, racist intolerance or Tamimi.
  • It says nothing about the corrosive effect of jihad on the societies which host it.
  • It says nothing about the immorality of murderous attacks on unarmed innocents, and particularly children.
  • In fact, it steps carefully around all the issues, speaking instead in grotesque circumlocutions and euphemism. It is 100% fig leaf and 0% substance
Here's the English translation of its key paragraph:
The Institute has received complaints that drew our attention to an article published by one of the students on the "journalists" site, which is run by the students directly and dedicated only to showcase their work. After reviewing this article, it was revealed that it did not abide by the Institute’s values and professional standards therefore it was removed from the site. Here Jordan Media Institute would like to stress that it will continue its efforts to ensure the preservation of professional values and standards and respect them at all times.

For all the JMI's public statements about "preservation of professional values and standards and respect", the only response we personally have gotten from them - after going through proper channels and addressing them in the politest of terms - has been an offensive one-line email from their director of training referring to junk mail and ignoring the issues. About as shabby as it gets in our estimation.

Jordan's king and queen went to Paris on Sunday. They marched there in the very front row of the huge crowd, among the assembled global VIPs, and stood in solidarity with the "Je suis Charlie" masses. 

What did they mean? Truly, that's anyone's guess, and we have no interest in being rude or offensive about it. But if marching against the Islamist thugs of Paris was meant to have anything to do with stopping Islamist terror in their own home kingdom, then - as we wrote on Sunday - they would have done better to stay in Amman and do some homework.

As for the political leaders of the countries listed above (as well as the executive managements of the corporates and the NGOs) who have not yet condemned what the Jordanian Media Institute has done, is doing and has attempted to conceal: you know who you are and you certainly know what civilized people ought to be doing now.

Footnote: Jim Clancy who is in the photo at the top of this post has lately been expressing some let's call them robust views about Jews, Israel and the Middle East conflict. See CNN's Jim Clancy Melts Down on Twitter Over Paris Massacre's Cause

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