Think Before You Type: Jordan To Ban Net-working

Posted on August 29, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Sanjukta Krishnagopal:

This article would most probably not get published on any website in Jordan, courtesies: the censorship act which will scrutinize every website you have the audacity to create or post in.

The government in Jordan refuses to let its citizens off the leash. Where on one hand, people all over the world are fighting for virtual justice and freedom, Jordan is going ahead and doing just the opposite. Proof? Well, the government of Jordan approved a draft on 22nd august 2012, which allows banning of websites without thorough examination, and censors every single thought or action you might decide to share with your fellow web-buddies. Next time you decide to utter an abuse out of sheer frustration, think twice. In fact, pause and simply let the idea pass, because you might just be put behind bars for it.

As per the new amendments to the Publication and Press Law, website owners are now to be charged if some random fellow from halfway across the world decides to voice, or rather, type his opinion on their website. Pornographic content is a strict no-no, for all ages. Some other pre-requisites? Registration and a government approved license ‘just like any other publication’. Probably the only saving grace here is that the draft hasn’t yet been passed. Hence some fingers still remain crossed.

Although the purpose of the whole draft might simply to reduce virtual threats, especially in this turbulent time of bomb scares, and enhance web safety, its implementation defies the basic right of freedom, web or not. It’s almost like disallowing a child from playing a sport for fear of injuries. A large number of people have, however, protested against this ludicrous act. Jordan’s former ICT minister Marwan Juma, is one such man who feels obligated to defend something he’s been working for with great passion.

This act comes in at a very opportune time, what with Jordan encapsulated in the many bittersweet political, social uprisings, where Jordan struggles to embrace 15,000 Syrians, even amidst their own economic hitches. Jordan was amongst the first countries to usher in cell phones, chat rooms, cyber-cafés and internet technology. This is another reason why, the protesting public remain unconvinced in spite of the governments’ explanation, and continue to march for liberty. The final approval of the draft is yet to be passed. This may not be the end, or even close to it, of an uprising of sorts, which may even culminate into a virtual war. Jordan, formerly well known for its acceptance of technology, may soon be labelled as a hypocrite.