New Arab Debates: Is Jordan the next target for the Arab Spring?

09-12-2012 12:00 AM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - The New Arab Debates, a regional free-speech forum, are to ask searching questions about Jordan’s fluid political and economic situation, following weeks of protest demonstrations and open hostility towards the King.

Debates, both in English and Arabic, will be recorded at the Landmark Hotel in Amman at 7pm on December 10 and 11, and will argue the motion: "This House believes Jordan is on the brink of serious political turmoil and unrest".

It will be the group’s first debate in Jordan.

Debates’ chairman Tim Sebastian, says the upcoming discussions will assess the degree of instability in the country which has seen nationwide demonstrations over fuel-price increases, sparked by a government cash crisis.

"Unrest in Jordan has made headlines around the world, and everyone is asking if Jordan will be the next Arab state to face dangerous disruption," he says. “We’ll be discussing the effectiveness of Jordan’s model of gradual reform and what threats the system might face in the weeks and months ahead."

Sebastian will be joined by renowned Egyptian TV presenter Mai El Sherbiny, who will moderate a debate in Arabic on the same topic on December 11.

Under the format, the moderator will question two panelists – one supporting the motion and the other opposing it – before inviting the audience to quiz the speakers and decide the issue by electronic vote.

In the English debate Dr. Salaheddin Al Bashir, former Minister of Foreign affairs will oppose the motion; Dr. Ibrahim AlJazi, former Minister of justice, will argue in favour of it.

The New Arab Debates are a high profile platform to foster democratic accountability and free speech among young Arabs after the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The project, now in its second year, is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Arab Partnership Participation Fund at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The series is shown on Deutche Welle TV in both Arabic and English and on the Public Broadcasting Service in the US, reaching an audience of over 100 million.

Twitter hash tag is #newarabdebates

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