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Jordanian journalists end strike after govt. fulfills their demands

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Employees of the government-owned Jordan Press Foundation (JPF), which publishes al-Rai and The Jordan Times, ended their weeks-long protests and one-day strike late Tuesday after the government met their demands, local media reported.

The protests, which culminated in a one-day strike on Monday, fizzled out when the employees’ last demand was to stop a candidate for the role of JFP’s chairman, former Interior Minister Mazen Saket, from taking up the position, The Jordan Times reported.

Following the protests, which started in early October, Saket had to turn down the job offer.

Al-Rai, Jordan’s largest and most popular daily, suspended its publishing on Tuesday for the first time in 42 years.

Al-Rai’s editor-in-chief Ghaith al-Adayleh told Al Arabiya News Channel that employees decided to strike after “all doors for dialogue with the government and the administration assigned by Amman were closed.”

Adayleh added: “[Jordanian] Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s government sent security forces to storm the newspaper’s headquarters and end the employees’ protest on Nov. 6. This is what escalated the crisis and led us to boycott governmental news and then not publish the daily at all today.”

The employees also wanted the removal of JPF’s board of directors. The board was headed by former media affairs minister, Ali al-Ayed.

In addition to dismissing candidates and heads chosen by the government, they requested the implementation of an agreement signed in 2012 pertaining to employees’ rights, including cashing their bonuses.

They urged for more freedom and independence when deciding editorial policies in the government-controlled newspapers.

Also, they asked for an investigation to look into a project costing JPF $50 million to buy printing houses which were apparently of low quality.

Adayleh said “Jordanians paid this money from their pockets,” and stressed the need for more transparency of JPF’s finances.

The editor-in-chief hailed the government meeting their demands as a “victory” for the Jordanian media.