Fourth Circle Protests Receive Little Media Coverage, Old Photos Circulate Social Media Platforms

The Fourth Circle’s protests did not receive much attention from local media outlets as reports only briefly covered related stories involving the Asphalt-smeared sidewalks, the announcements of public unions and syndicate about their non-participation in the protests, the breakdown of Facebook live-video service during the protests and the remote-monitoring from inside the command and control rooms.

Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor “Akeed” identified 72 reports on these protests; 8 of which (around 11.2%) addressed the beginning of the protests and the slogans advocated by the protestors, while 23 reports (around 32%) focused on the liquid-asphalt that was spilled over the sidewalks in the area of the protest and the cleaning process conducted by the cadres of Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) as well as the launch of a security investigation to identify the perpetrators of that incident.

Four reports (around 5.5%) covered the subject of Facebook’s live-streaming breakdown and its linkage to the government, while another 13 reports (around 18%) covered the statement of the Jordanian Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mothanna Gharaibeh, in which he denied the government’s involvement in the matter.

A total of 13 reports (around 18%) covered the refusal of public unions and syndicates to participate in the protest, while 11 reports (around 15.9%) addressed the remote-monitoring of the protest from inside the command and control rooms.

Demonstrating against the amended Income Tax Law, hundreds of citizens gathered for another protest on Friday, November 30, 2018 and Saturday, December 1, 2018 at the Jordan Hospital courtyard in Shmeisani area. However, Jordanian syndicates and political parties announced their non-participation, citing the reasons that they neither knew who the organizing party was nor had they received any invitation to participate.

Liquid Asphalt and Disrupted Live-Stream

On the morning of Friday, November 30, photojournalists shared several photos –both through media outlets and their personal social media accounts– showing photos of Asphalt-smeared sidewalks in the protest area associating the act with anonymous perpetrators without pointing the finger at any specific party. The same was also shared by citizens on social medial platforms.

The disruption of Facebook live-video streaming service infused anger amongst social media users as it was presumed that the government took a decision to that effect that was then executed by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mothanna Gharaibeh. Several news websites tackled the subject and incorporated a number of posts that were taken from social platforms, such as:

After Facebook Video Disruption... Public Fury against “Activist Minister”

Facebook Streaming Service Disrupted in Fourth Circle Area, Activists Accuse Government.

What Happened to Facebook Videos? Blocking or Malfunction?

Gharaibeh refuted these accusations, stressing that the internet connection was not blocked in the Fourth Circle area but uploading videos was only slow due to the excessive load on the network which occurs during the weekends. The minister also elaborated that blocking the internet would require sending an official letter to telecommunication companies.

Old Photos Posted on Platforms

Social media users shared old photos from the previous Fourth Circle protests that took place in July of this year –in which citizens condemned governmental policies and protested against high prices under the tenure of former Prime Minister Hani Mulki– while choosing certain photos that specifically display a large numbers of people.

Some websites chose to exaggerate the event by shooting videos from a particular angle showing part of the scene rather than presenting the full picture, in an attempt to highlight a one-sided point of view, regardless of what actually happened on the ground.

Akeed pointed out some of the malpractices employed in producing these images and videos such as capturing scenes from a specific angle that is not representative of the whole scene. The Jordan Media Credibility Monitor had previously produced a tutorial video within its Media Literacy Program demonstrating the use of these technical methods in order to present a perspective that is different from reality. The video has been reposted together with this report to spread awareness amongst social media users.