Jordan: Controversial Law Endorsed Following Weekend Protests
On Tuesday, the Lower House passed controversial amendments to the 2012 Press and Publications draft law that would require electronic publications to obtain a license and gives executive authorities the power to shut down unlicensed sites. The law would provide new executive power to block websites and unreasonable restrictions on online content, including comments posted by website users, Human Rights Watch said. There has been much concern over the threat this law poses to freedom of expression due to the the law’s vague definition of electronic publications as “an electronic site on the Internet with a fixed address that offers publication services, including news, reports, investigations, articles, comments,” which would potentially include sites registered abroad, as well as those in another language.
The vote followed a weekend of protests across Jordan, which led to the arrest of nine political activists in the southern city of Tafileh early Saturday after a protest over political freedoms descended into violence, a security source told The Jordan Times. Friday evening saw peaceful protests in Amman’s Jabal al-Taj neighborhood, where over 1,000 protesters called for the entire Jordanian government to be dismissed and for the king to step down.