Jordan criticises Dutch ambassador over media freedom complaints

Officials say diplomat used 'courtesy meeting' to weigh into local radio station ownership

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman, Jordan. Photo: US State Department
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Jordan's government has criticised the Dutch ambassador to Amman after he made comments about media freedom in the kingdom.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said that Harry Verweij had weighed into domestic affairs during a courtesy meeting with a senior official.

His comments included the licensing of a local radio station and who ran it, according to the ministry, which did not elaborate further.

The ambassador's actions were “incomprehensible” according to a statement.

"Jordan is always open to frank dialogue that approaches all issues with all partners and friendly countries through diplomatic channels and direct contact, in accordance with diplomatic norms, but that it does not accept interference in its internal affairs," a statement on the Petra news agency said.

The radio station in question did not involve a Dutch national, nor a Jordanian for that matter, the ministry said.

On Tuesday, Mr Verweij said he had raised concerns about "Jordan's declining international ranking on freedom of speech".

Jordan ranks 129th out of 180 nations in press freedom, slipping one place in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index - which was reported by Jordan's state-owned media.

The ministry stressed that "Jordan and the Netherlands have a strong and historical friendship and partnership".

Following the incident, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation summoned the Netherlands' ambassador to Abu Dhabi.

It informed him of the Gulf nation's strong protest and denunciation of the interference of his country's ambassador to Jordan in the kingdom's internal affairs, state news agency Wam reported.

Updated: October 21, 2022, 8:50 AM