As are the majority of bloggers in the Jordanian blogosphere, I was shocked and dismayed by the treatment of the father of a fellow blogger at Prince Hamza Hospital. It really beggars belief. However, this is not the main reason for this post. I’m blogging about this to highlight the effect of the blogosphere in a country that has been used to government-dominated media outlets for the last few decades. You see, word spread about this inhumane treatment through the blogosphere and it has already found its way into traditional media. Addustour daily published the story and it was picked up on a news website called Rum. Hopefully, this will bring still more attention and prompt concerned officials to act.
When I was growing up in Jordan, I never had such an outlet. We heard of similar heart-wrenching stories occurring to friends and family but we felt completely helpless. There were instances when we could not do anything to highlight the predicaments caused by an inefficient public system or institution. Things are no longer the same. There is now a way to spread the word even if traditional media outlets shy away from reporting what they may regard as "daring" stories or incidents that might air the country’s dirty laundry.
I’m glad that I’m witnessing this first-hand. The effect of the blogging phenomenon should never be underestimated. After all, bloggers are getting international recognition. Just last week, outspoken Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Knight International Journalism Award. Yes the blogs are here to stay, despite what others might think.
Update: Blogger Who Sane reports that he has been contacted by officials from the Health Ministry following his post and the reactions that followed.
Upon republishing the story in Addustour Daily, (Batir, I owe you my life), senior officials at the Ministry of Health contacted me yesterday and confirmed that the newly appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Salah Al Mawajdeh, sends his regards and is personally very concerned about this issue and has given direct orders to start an investigation lead by the Head of Internal Auditing Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Azmi Al Hadidi, who called me and visited my dad at the hospital yesterday (September 5th, 2007) and assured us that the investigation will prosecute those who have caused this ordeal.