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Media Profiles

Profiles of journalists in the Middle east

Deena Holz - Jordan TV

Stephen Jones

Denn Holz. Photograph by Juliette Strangio

Denn Holz. Photograph by Juliette Strangio

Deena Holz is German-Jordanian TV Producer.

She travelled to Jordan in 2011 on a research project to survey over 300 journalists about freedom of the press.

While she was there, the Arab Spring unfolded in several neighbouring countries.

“I was not scared,” says Holz, “if you are not brave it’s the wrong job for you.”

She felt confident to stay because she had some protection from her Jordanian family. “I’m the granddaughter of a mighty person in the north of this country. They know my family name, everyone knows. Wherever I go, sometimes I use my name very carefully. When I’m with you I say Holz because it’s Western, but when I go to the people in the street I say Al-Zoubi. And they show respect.”

She continued her research which she hopes will become a book.

“It’s all about the freedom of speech and the freedom of press in this country.”

The book discusses the ways in which family-based censorship affects journalism in Jordan.

“Even your family can pressure you as a journalist, because families are very important in this region, more than I feel in Europe.”

In her survey she researched broader problems of blackmail and censorship, and asked Jordanian reporters whether they had ever been pressured in these ways.

“I found two or three,” she says. “One who is experienced here, he was so fearful he didn’t want to talk to me”.

Holz says she has to follow the news. “I’m here now because it’s happening. Here it will be war for a long time.”

“Give this region some time, it’s really hard to grow when you’re surrounded by war. Give the region time to be more self-confident with journalism freedom.”