Jordanian authorities seize al-Jazeera tape of Prince Hassan interview 23 April 2007Posted by foray in crackdown, Ghassan Ben Jeddou, Ghassan bin Jadu, Hiwar Maftuh, open dialogue, talkshow.
Hours after al-Jazeera’s Hiwar Maftuh (Open Dialogue) programme host Ghassan Ben Jeddou interviewed Prince Hassan bin Talal on Wednesday, Jordanian police confiscated the original video tape and photographs of the meeting as the producer was about to leave Amman.
Prince Hassan – the uncle of Jordan’s King Abdullah II – is said to have told the show that a national security adviser in Saudi Arabia was financing Sunni militants to fight Hezbollah.
[A Jordanian] official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a conviction that the Doha-based station “conducted the interview in a manner that would have allowed it to use it in a dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
The official said that the authorities know that the confiscation decision might cause damage to Jordan’s image, “but this damage would be much less than if the interview would have been aired, because then we would have to pay a heavy political price.”
“The country weighed the two options and decided that being accused of carrying out an act that is not in line with the freedom of the press would cause less harm to the country’s interests than the political repercussions of airing the interview,” the official added.