Letter to Nader Dahabi on World Press Freedom Day

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Nader Dahabi
RE: World Press Freedom Day
02 May 2008
Translated from Arabic

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,

Our dear brother, Your Excellency Nader Dahabi, the prime minister,

Peace, God's mercy and His blessings upon you,

It is our pleasure to extend to you and to your colleagues, the ministers, our greetings and best wishes for continued success.

Every year, on the third day of May, the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day, and I saw on this occasion a good opportunity to address all those concerned with the media and to reaffirm the basic components of our vision in support of the freedom of the media.

I start by recalling the historic and strong bond between Jordan's establishment as a genuine Arab home for Arab freedom fighters and its role in sponsoring and embracing those who utter the rightful word and express wise opinions. Jordan, built on authenticity and noble values, is bound by this heritage to remain an oasis, dedicated to protecting freedoms and to preserving words of truth. Here, we reaffirm that we are keen not to limit the responsible exercise of press freedom, and that we seek to empower the press and enhance its role in expressing the homeland's conscience and the ambitions of its daughters and sons, within a framework of accuracy, objectivity and professionalism.

Under the umbrella of this authentic relationship between the nation's foundation and the respect for freedom and for expression, we appreciate the government's relentless efforts to media freedom, and to enhance its march, to entrench pluralism and democracy in Jordan.

For us, the media will always be a fourth authority, dealing equitably with all institutions and individuals, uncovering the truth, warning of what is wrong, highlighting what is right and seeking to preserve the homeland's interests by defending the rights of Jordan and Jordanians, putting their interests first and always, above all else.

This is the vital, honourable national role that our media institutions play, and we urge those in the media, on this day, to continue with these steps, innovating and disseminating ideas of value to the people, while we support their national role.

We reaffirm anew that the role of the media and its freedom are to be preserved in our country. They are representatives of all points of view, abiding by ethical and professional standards, refraining from character assassination and slander, holding to objectivity and transparency and eschewing whatever may hurt our national unity.

It remains to be said that our confidence in Jordanian society's respect for freedom of the media is strong. We hope that the dynamic between the media and society would lead to legislation that is progressive and wise, that differentiates right from wrong and defines the ethics of the profession.

This dynamic should be accompanied by a national dialogue to propose legislation that complements and enriches existing legislation in order to strengthen the protection of media personnel and opinion, and will affirm respect for individual rights. Such legislation should be drafted in accordance with the most modern and reliable international practices and norms.

We reaffirm on this day our opposition to the confiscation of the freedom of those working for the media because of a difference of opinion on a public issue, when such opinion does not infringe on people's rights, freedoms, honour or integrity.

May God Almighty grant us success to serve our dear people, and realise what they aspire to achieve in terms of glory, progress and growth.

Peace, God's mercy and His blessings upon you,

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 2 May 2008