News sites continue to be subject to closure in Jordan unless they accede to the licensing demands, as IPI denounces in an interview with the editor of the news site 7iber.com, Lina Ejellat. She, as other editors, explains in an interview that the law has had a significant effect on Jordan’s media landscape.
According to her: “Ever since the [licensing] law was debated in Parliament, we took a very strong position against the idea of requiring online media to get a government license. We believe that not even print media should be required to get a government license with the kind of conditions that come with that license, because we think that the idea of getting permission to start a media platform is something that is a form of censorship”.
Now nearly two years have passed since Jordanian authorities blocked over 200 websites for failing to obtain a license in accordance with a then-recent amendment to the country’s Press and Publications Law. The amendment requires online news sites to be licensed to operate as such and to have an editor affiliated with the Jordan Press Association, a professional syndicate founded in 1953 with the majority of its members working for state media. Notably, all editors of newly licensed sites are considered legally accountable not only for the journalistic content, but also for reader comments.
7iber and other news sites have tried relentlessly to circumvent the ban by switching domains, but after being blocked repeatedly and risking fines, they have found no other solution than applying for a license.