Jordan blocks 254 online news sites

Jordan blocks 254 online news sites

The Jordanian government announced on June 3rd that unauthorized sites shall be blocked, which is now done: 254 local news sites have seen their access being denied, as they had not obtained a license, according to a controversial law in 2012.

“16 local online news sites have been blocked in the last two days after their situation have been checked in detail”. This brings the total of recently blocked sites to 254 announced Fayez Shawabkeh who heads the Press and publication Department (PPD). In the same time, however, “111 sites were given a license”, he added.

The law governing licenses to be issued for news website implies that their editor(s) must be members of the Jordanian press: it gives the government the right to censor the content of the sites but also to prosecute journalists for online posted comments. Mr. Shawabkeh assured that the decision to block the sites was to “organize” their work, and not to “restrict freedom”, calling the sites concerned to regularize their situation.

One of the last recent blocked sites is “7iber” which means “ink” in English. “This is an interactive website that includes reports and articles submitted by contributors,” he told AFP editor Lina Ejeilat. She added that this was not a news site but a blog, selected in June for the best Arabic blog site prize.

These measures blocking news sites raise critics from many activists, journalists and even the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group in Jordan who all denounce an attempted censorship by the Jordanian government.

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