SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

THE JORDAN OPEN SOURCE ASSOCIATION DEPLORES CENSORSHIP OF NEWS WEBSITES

Wednesday , 05 June 2013

The Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) has condemned the decision by the Press and Publications Department on Sunday to block access to hundreds of websites, and it has renewed its opposition to any attempts on instilling governmental censorship on the Internet, which goes against the association’s believes and mission towards a free and open Web in Jordan.

It has also expressed its regrets that its fears regarding the implementation of the modified Press and Publications Law, have finally materialized. The association has adamantly warned that the Press and Publications department might overstep its mandate to regulate online press, leading to incidents of over censorship, and that has already begun by blocking websites belonging to production companies and political parties.

JOSA President, Issa Mahasneh has considered the latest move a blow to freedom of expression and digital rights at large, stating that such censorship is highly impractical, and is of no use in today's digital age, and has expressed his worries that such a decision will align Jordan away from modern democracies and place the Kingdom among enemies of the Internet.

He also expressed doubts about the feasibility of the censorship, stating, "There are many ways to circumvent the censorship, and we have seen citizens already employing these tools, not to mention that the websites themselves have began using social media to disseminate their news. Decision makers have to realise that Internet censorship is simply unfeasible, and all attempts to do so in other countries have failed."

Mohammad Tarakiyee, Communications Officer at the association, has expressed JOSA's fears regarding the receding state of freedoms in the Kingdom, and its effects on the political and economical ecosystem, and the reform process. He said, "we have warned against censorship, and in particular when it comes in the form of an executive decision that could be easily misused. We have documented cases where websites have been blocked under the pretense of regulating online press, when they clearly aren't news websites. This has caused problems for many Jordanian creatives and political activists, affecting their online platforms."

JOSA calls on the government to reverse its decision, and to review the modified Press and Publications law, and has implored decision makers to preserve the integrity and the inherent openness of the Internet, keeping it free of all forms of censorship and surveillance.

The Jordan Open Source Association is a non-profit that advocates for free software, free culture, and a free and open Web, and works towards the preservation of the digital rights of all Jordanians.

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