Jordan may amend communication law
Friday, 20 July 2012 15:17 GMT
A day after 30 people protested in front of Jordan's communications ministry, calling for the blocking of pornographic sites, the minister of communications and information technology, Atef al-Tal, surprised human rights activists and organisations by saying: "The ministry is discussing amending the communications law to include clean internet services, free from pornography and other bad sites."
The head of the campaign to block porn sites, Mohamed al-Rauod, said: "A youth group implemented this sit-in pressing the ministry to issue a decree to block pornographic sites."
Activists who wish to defend internet freedom in Jordan and proponents of personal privacy have started a campaign on social networking sites against the decree, under the slogan "Baaraf Ahmy Haly, Msh Shogl el Hkoma Thgeb El Net" (I Can Protect Myself, It's Not The Government's Problem). The counter campaign aims to increase awareness among citizens on how to protect themselves without governmental intervention, warning against repressing public freedom and the right to information.
Is this policy threatening the right to information?
Legal expert Yahya Shakeer said: "There is no reason to demand pornographic sites be blocked as long as families can subscribe to a safe internet service and block the things they think will harm their children".
Shakeer added: "The absolute blocking even for adults will maintain 'the guardianship policy' which is not different from creating reasons to increase censorship to include political sites, for example those taking about Shia values which may decrease pluralism and restrict freedom."
Minister al-Tal declared that the ministry was working with an Australian company in order to offer a protection programme for free in six weeks.
Technical expert Raad Nishiwat said internet sites like news, advertisements, pornography, or others that use u p internet bandwith may blocked according to the hired company's modus operandi, a procedure that is rarely used in different countries.
Many human rights activists agreed that internet monitoring or censoring websites threatened basic human rights and made Jordan sub-par with other free countries. It could also lead to the government taking non-monitored procedures against citizens.
The freedom to information and of expression right have been ingrained in Jordanian law since 1995.