The ruling also lays the groundwork for a government panel to
produce guidelines for explicitly incorporating electronic media in the Press
and Publications Law, according to local news outlets. If the press law is widened,
To subject electronic media to Jordan’s repressive Press and
Publications Law is highly problematic. For one, the press law requires all
publications to register with the Press and Publications Department of the
A more quotidian concern is what the many journalists who have flocked to the Internet to write what the press law
prevents them from writing in print publications will do once their online work is subjected
to the press law provisions. Ghaith Adayleh, CEO of the popular Jordanian news
Web site Khaberni, said in an
interview with The Jordan Times that contributors will likely write for
sites that operate outside
Many other questions arise. Will the Jordanian Journalists’ Syndicate be given an opportunity to weigh in on the press law revision? What about other experts and practitioners? What will constitute a “publication?” Will it be anything posted online, including blogs, or will there be more nuanced criteria? What about messages posted on Facebook or Twitter? What about reposting third-party material? What about third-party comments? Will the simple act of accessing such material also be criminalized?
Facing all these questions, the government has both an obligation and an opportunity. It should reform the Press and Publications Law, not to extend the outdated and restrictive standards that apply to print publications, but to bring the law in line with international standards that protect freedom of expression in all venues.
Mohamed Abdel Dayem is CPJ's program coordinator for the
Middle East and