A recent story regarding a Middle Eastern Journalist caught my attention and prompted me to further read into the incident. Hundreds of Journalists came together at the Jordan Press Association to show their solidarity with Al Ghad journalist Yousef Damra. Damra was threatened after publishing an article exposing a major fraud case. The demonstration was joined by Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications who worked in efforts to recent government acts of intimidation against journalists.
Damra started his investigative story in April when he started writing about victims of fraud. As a Journalists many confided their stories in him, and knew that he was capable of reaching contacts that local victims could not. His articles and columns exposed $3 million (Jordanian dollars) in real estate fraud.
After receiving many phone calls threatening that if he did not stop coverage of these cases, his life would be in danger. Damra reached out to the Jordan Times, revealing to Times editors that he is reaching out to the police. In an email I received from a Jordan Times editor,” Damra told The Jordan Times yesterday, adding that he informed Al Ghad’s management who in turn complained to the police.” I have been consistently intrigued by this story, and the capability of this writer. I was also very excited to receive an email response from the editor, considering he is in the Middle East.
This is also intriguing to me as a writer because it shows me the limitations I have as a writer, yet, I am able to see how far I can go to get answers, and how far journalists will go to maintain credibility.
Damra's main goal in this investigative story was to uncover corruption and follow through with a service toward his readers that turned to him as a Journalist. He also talked about his duties as a part of the media. He expressed that it is part of a journalists’ social and professional responsibility to report on any violation of the law. He also sets an example for other investigative journalists that they have rights as long as they do not cross the line or over their boundaries.
In addition to journalists, several citizens who claimed to be victims of fraud took part in the demonstration and urged authorities to take action to protect the journalists that arrived in support of Damra. According to the Damra’s previous article, “JPA President Tareq Momani yesterday said that press intimidation is damaging to society, describing the threat against Damra as “thuggery.”
I believe that as journalists, we should be aware of the challenges we face while doing our job, yet at the same time, never be deterred from our responsibilities in exposing any violation of the law, or other parts of society. Every Journalist should know their rights, and also their boundaries when covering any story, and be aware of their surroundings.