Putting Women’s Rights on the Public Agenda in Jordan

Jordanian journalist Remaz Mussa
Remaz Mussa investigated honour crimes using data journalism techniques he learned from JHR

JHR-trained reporter shines light on violence against women

 

Remaz Mussa knows firsthand that the best guarded secrets are exactly the ones worth exposing.

 

Using data-heavy research journalism, he galvanized international debate and discussion around the often silent issue of honour crimes in his Jordanian homeland.

 

Remaz, 26, started working on the honour crime stories after he attended a JHR training session. With help from JHR trainers, Remaz learned the basics of using data to develop human rights stories.

 

His pioneering reports were published in December 2014 on 7iber.org, an online magazine.

 

Reporting on honour crimes was challenging for Remaz. Many media outlets avoid the issue.  Although Jordan has an access to information law, it is hard to find publicly-available data to back up peoples’ stories.

Using skills he learned from JHR trainers, Remaz searched court records for data on honour crimes. He read the decisions in hundreds of cases, and developed a series of infographics showing how authorities have dealt with honour crimes in Jordan since 1995.

 

“I knew from the beginning that the preparation of the report will be very hard, especially with the lack of data,” said Remaz explained. “But I decided to do it.”

 

Remaz’s reports caused quite a stir – they were widely circulated on social media and cited in other outlets, including Human Rights Watch. The story also triggered debate in the Jordanian Parliament about whether or not the government should amend an article of the penal code, which allows a rapist to leave prison if he gets married to his victim.

 

Remaz is now setting his sights on the gender gap. He will use his JHR data reporting skills to investigate the lack of women in leadership in Jordanian politics and business.

 

JHR’s program in Jordan is generously funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative and the UN Democracy Fund and by individual JHR donors. 

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