Sixteen verbal and physical assaults were registered against journalists in the first quarter of this year, according to a report issued on Monday. Prepared quarterly by the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), the report indicated that the violations were committed by members of different security agencies as well as so-called thugs and took place in public. “The increasing number of assaults against media practitioners reflects the leniency of the local authorities in dealing with complaints filed by the victims, which also encourages the assailants of such unacceptable attacks against those who are only performing their duties in covering events,” said the report, which also noted that some of the assaults were committed by MPs, ministers and governors. Expressing concern over these violations, the CDFJ called on the government to translate its commitment to freedom of expression into actions on the ground by providing adequate protection for media personnel, adding that the state should not regard journalists as their enemies. “The centre will continue documenting such assaults and include them in an annual report, which will be sent to decision makers, seeking their action to end intimidation against journalists who are part of society and impacted by whatever decisions are made affecting public life,” the CDFJ said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times. The centre said its reports aim to spread awareness among the public in order to engage them in defending press freedom which is part of their right to freedom of expression.