Jordan's New Cybercrime Law: A Hate Speech Monitor or a Press Muzzle?

Published October 9th, 2018 - 05:47 GMT
Legislation and Opinion Bureau President Nofan Ajarmeh said that the bill did not criminalise any new actions, but it criminalised some deeds that are perpetrated through technological means that do not accord with the values and morals of the society. (Shutterstock)
Legislation and Opinion Bureau President Nofan Ajarmeh said that the bill did not criminalise any new actions, but it criminalised some deeds that are perpetrated through technological means that do not accord with the values and morals of the society. (Shutterstock)

New amendments to the Cybercrime Law do not aim at curbing press freedoms but rather at addressing hate speech and character assassination spread on social media outlets, Justice Minister Awad Abu Jarad said on Monday.

Abu Jarad made the remarks during a Lower House Legal Committee meeting to discuss the 2018 cybercrime draft law, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

MP Hussein Qaisi, head of the panel, said that the committee supports press freedoms but opposes character assassination.

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Qaisi said that panel members disagree with stiffening penalties as the best solution to addressing these phenomena, adding that the committee is responsible for clearing any misunderstandings on the bill. 

Abu Jarad said that the law, per its validating reasons, came in response to technological developments in social media outlets and their wide spread, which, he added, "led to misuse in a way that can harm the national unity".

He added that such outlets increase blackmailing and e-fraud cases and are used to promote the hate speech.

Legislation and Opinion Bureau President Nofan Ajarmeh said that the bill did not criminalise any new actions, but it criminalised some deeds that are perpetrated through technological means that do not accord with the values and morals of the society.

"The law as a whole is not needed, especially when such acts are already penalised in the Press and Publications Law and Penal Code," Jordan Press Association President Rakan Saaideh said, highlighting the need to differentiate between what is published on news websites and social media platforms.  


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