Saket refuses presidency of Al Rai

12-11-2013 09:02 PM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - Former Interior Minister Mazen Saket on Tuesday declined to accept the presidency of the the Board of Directors of Al Al-Rai newspaper, Ammon News learned.

Al Rai Arabic daily was not published on Tuesday due to a one-day strike to be observed Monday by the employees of the Jordan Press Foundation (JPF) which also publishes Jordan Times.

The decision to strike was taken after the appointment of a new board of directors headed by former interior minister Mazen Saket whom they described in a statement as an “enemy of press freedoms”.

The state-owned Social Security Investment Fund (SSIF) on Sunday appointed Saket as the new JPF chairman, succeeding Ali Al Ayed, whose resignation was demanded by the protesters after he reportedly called in police into the foundation’s premises to interfere in the protest last week.

The move by SSIF, which owns around 55 per cent of foundation’s shares, to replace the board of directors, aimed at putting an end to the 35-day sit-in by JPF employees who are demanding a new management and the implementation of a labour agreement signed in 2011.

Saket’s appointment failed to change the situation as protesting journalists and workers rejected the names of some appointees to the new board of directors.

The former interior minister was initially welcomed by protesters as he visited the protest tent erected on JPF premises, but soon after the new names of other board members were leaked, employees shouted slogans against the SSIF selection as it included columnists from two other competitors — Ad Dustour and Al Ghad dailies — and a former information minister.

The protest flared as Saket stated that he has plans to restructure the paper, which the employees’ statement interpreted as a plan to lay off employees.

Saket left the newspaper’s offices after failing to communicate with the sit-in leaders.

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