Editor's note: The following letter was submitted by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) to King Abdullah of Jordan regarding the recent decision to block access to roughly 300 news websites within the Kingdom. The letter is not the opinion of Al Bawaba.
Your Majesty,Reporters Without Borders , an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to share with you its deep concern about your decision to block access to nearly 300 news websites on June 2, 2013. A September 2012 royal decree promulgating amendments to the press and publications law was widely criticized by Jordanian civil society. Many journalists and human rights organizations condemned and still condemn the new law’s imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of information, especially online media, which are now required to obtain a licence from the government in order to continue operating. Furthermore, some of the new law’s provisions regulating the work of news websites leave a permanent threat hanging over journalists whose editorial line is at variance with the government’s.Reporters Without Borders pointed out at the time that this new law violated international standards on freedom of information, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which the Kingdom of Jordan has adhered without reservation), article 19, which covers freedom of opinion and expression.
The blocking of 300 news websites, a serious violation of freedom of information and a breach of your reform promises, has confirmed our worst fears.Reporters Without Borders urges you to restore access to the websites currently blocked within Jordan, and to rescind the recent press law’s repressive provisions, so that it guarantees freedom of information.I thank you in advance for the attention you give to our requests.Sincerely,Christophe DeloireReporters Without Borders Secretary-General
RWB is a France-based international non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.