Media Legal Aid Unit (MELAD)
Protecting journalists… Defending media freedom
The Media Legal Aid Unit (MELAD) was founded in 2002 to provide free litigation and legal consultation services to Jordanian journalists.
While the Jordanian constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, vague clauses in the Press and Publications law (1998) and broad interpretations of an antiterrorism law often lead to journalists facing legal repercussions for their work.
The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) established MELAD as a response to an increased number of media related legal cases brought against journalists. Given that Jordanian journalists can be detained for crimes ranging from defamation to denigrating religion or the state, the legal protection provided by MELAD is a necessity. In the absence of such protections journalists are likely to self-censor to avoid adverse legal consequences.
To date MELAD has represented 300 journalists in media related cases. In 2014, 66.7% of journalists facing trial in Jordan were represented by MELAD.
All of MELAD’s legal services are 100% pro bono.
- Provision of legal counsel to journalists facing legal proceedings as a result of their work in the media. All MELAD lawyers are qualified and trained in dealing with media cases.
- Assistance for media workers detained while covering events or otherwise involved in media related work.
- Advising journalists and media organizations on elements of press and publications law.
- Training lawyers in media law and encouraging rising legal professionals to specialize in media and free speech law.
- Advising parliament and government institutions on media related laws.
- Producing legal studies focused on elements of media law in Jordan.
- Communicating with judicial authorities to ensure the strengthening of journalistic freedoms and foster an understanding of international standards regarding media freedom.
If you are interested in supporting MELAD’s work or the activities of CDFJ more broadly please contact our fundraising team at [email protected]