Jordan blocks 254 news websites

Jul 02, 2013
Two Jordanian university students surf the web at an internet cafe in Irbid, on January 23, 2001. The Jordanian government has blocked 254 unlicensed news websites, 16 of them in the previous two days, using powers under a 2012 law criticised as a threat to freedom of expression.

The Jordanian government said on Tuesday that it had blocked 254 unlicensed news websites, 16 of them in the previous two days, using powers under a 2012 law criticised as a threat to freedom of expression.

Fayez Shawabkeh, head of the Press and Publication Department said: "16 websites were blocked in the past two days after carefully examining their situation.

"This brings the total number of sites the PPD blocked recently to 254, while 111 sites have obtained licences."

On June 3, authorities said they would block nearly 300 out of 400 local news websites "for failing to obtain the necessary licensing," under last year's controversial legislation.

The law gave the government powers to regulate "electronic publications," requiring them to register with the PPD and obtain a licence.

It stipulates that the chief editors of news websites must be members of the Jordan Press Association, giving the government the right to censor content and hold journalists liable for comments posted on webpages.

The PPD has insisted "the decision does not seek to restrict freedoms," and that "the objective is to organise the work of these websites."

"I call on all local news websites to correct their status in line with the law. Operating outside the law, which we will continue to apply, will not be in their interest," Shawabkeh warned.

Journalists accuse the government of seeking to control who can publish news.

One of the sites blocked in the past two days is 7iber, Arabic for "ink".

Its editor, Lina Ejeilat, told AFP 7iber was an that published reports and features from contributors, and said it should not be covered by the legialation.

"We are a blog and definitely not a news website," she said.

Shawabkeh disagreed, saying that "7iber is registered at the trade and industry ministry as a news website and posts news and political analyses about Jordan, which means that the applies to it".

The PPD's decision drew renewed criticism of Jordan from international human rights watchdogs, as well as from , activists and the main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, who saw it as an attempt to impose censorship.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Singaporean online community angered by new media rule

May 29, 2013

Singapore's feisty online community reacted angrily Wednesday to an announcement that news websites including one operated by Yahoo! will have to obtain licences subjecting them to rules governing traditional ...

Singapore defends Internet licencing rules

May 30, 2013

Singapore's media regulator on Thursday sought to allay fears that a controversial new rule requiring news websites to obtain licences was aimed at stifling Internet freedom.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

17 hours ago

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 0