>I was reading the Jordan Times on-line today and found the following news very troubling… Apparently, the courts have now ruled that on-line publication and “electronic media” is subject to the prosecution under the Press Laws. The quote from the press release included below is especially troubling.
“The court’s decision, issued last week but published only today [Wednesday],
empowers authorities to prosecute or impose fines on journalists, bloggers and
editors for publishing online material that may be deemed offensive or imply
criticism of the government, national unity or the economy,” ARTICLE 19 said in
a press release issued on its website on Wednesday.
So apparently we bloggers are now electronic media. I shudder to think that a group of people who have no access to these unclear press laws, no responsibility to the public, and none of the defenses available to traditional media will be placed in this same category. It seems blogging has become a contact sport.
I wondered about the new ranking of Jordan as “not free” having been downgraded from “less free”. My wonderings are over. It seems that now perhaps I will need to also discontinue my blog. After all, who knows if posting about poor driving skills in Jordan is “offensive or implies criticism”? What about honor killings and the inadequate legal prosecution? And how about discrimination based on religion? All of these topics could be construed as offensive to someone. And, after all, how many days can you blog about sneaky teeth?! I guess I’ll have to give this some serious thought.
I would really ask the government and His Majesty, is this the chosen path forward for Jordan? Really? Are we regular, ordinary citizens now denied our voice, lonely as it may have been? After all, without a voice, without a presence, without a dialog, where does that leave this wonderful, vibrant country of ours? Apparently it leaves us sad, silenced, and lacking critical reasoning. Sigh. Jordan I still love you, over and out (for how long who knows…).
Sad (self?) censorship!