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Jordan: Parliament Approves Law on Online Publications

(Sept. 18, 2012) On September 11, 2012, the Jordanian National Assembly approved legislation to regulate Internet publications. The new law is designed to standardize the process of launching news websites on the Internet.

The law requires Internet companies to register and obtain special permits to launch websites online. It stipulates that each electronic news website must be managed by a member of the board of the Jordan Press Association (Comprehensive Guide to Civil Society Organizations in Jordan (last updated Apr. 11, 2012)). Furthermore, under the new legislation, readers’ comments and feedback are considered to be part of the news article posted online.

Opposition groups criticized the new legislation. They stated that it violates free speech rights and limits freedom of expression in blogs and other social media outlets. The Jordanian government, on the other hand, defended the new legislation, announcing that it was issued to regulate the administrative procedures for online media, not to restrict free speech. (The Jordanian National Assembly Passes a Law on Publications [in Arabic], AL MASRY ALYOUM (Sept. 11, 2012).)