The Jordanian government has blocked dozens of local news websites that have not yet registered or refused to register for censorship by the
state-run Press and Publications Department.
The move to block the sites came after a six-month ultimatum given to news websites to register with the department in accordance with the repressive 2012 amended Press and Publications Law.
The head of the Press and Publications Department Fayez al Shawabkeh sent a memo to Jordan's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) requesting a block on over 200 unregistered news websites by the kingdom's various ISPs.
The Coordination Committee of Electronic News Websites denounced the government's move to ban their sites.:
In this measure, The government and official agencies have violated all the commitments and promises it made to the journalism community of not resorting to blocking the sites, and their promises to make essential amendments to the Press and
The internet censorship law targets news websites with four main amendments, forcing news websites to register and get licensed, granting authorities executive powers to block and censor websites and close their local offices, and holds
publishers, editors-in-chief, editors and managers liable for comments posted on their respective websites. The editor-in-chief is required to have been a member of the Jordan Press Association for at least four years, before a licence will be
The Jordanian government has said that it had now blocked 254 unlicensed news websites.
Fayez Shawabkeh, head of the Press and Publication Department said:
16 local news websites were blocked in the past two days after carefully examining their situation. This brings the total number of sites the PPD blocked recently to 254, while 111 sites have obtained licenses.
On June 3, authorities said they would block nearly 300 out of 400 local news websites for failing to obtain the necessary licensing, under last year's repressive legislation. The law not only requires licensing but requires that editors of news
websites must be members of the Jordan Press Association, giving the government the right to censor content and hold journalists liable for comments posted on webpages.
One of the sites blocked in the past two days is 7iber, Arabic for ink. Its editor, Lina Ejeilat, told AFP 7iber was an interactive website that published reports and features from contributors, and said it should not be covered by the
legislation. We are a blog and definitely not a news website, she said. Shawabkeh disagreed, saying that 7iber is registered at the trade and industry ministry as a news website and posts news and political analyses about Jordan, which means
that the law applies to it.