The blocking is based on the Press and Publication Law, as amended in 2012. Article 49 says that any site that publishing “news, investigations, articles, and commentary related to the Kingdom’s internal or external affairs must obtain a licence from the Press and Publication Department”.
“The Jordanian government aims to use this licencing system to ensure that it controls the Internet and the information published on it,” said Reporters Without Borders assistant research director Virginie Dangles. “It must urgently repeal the Press and Publication Law provisions that are incompatible with Jordan’s international obligations.”
7iber editor in chief, Lina Ejeilat, told Reporters Without Borders “We refuse to apply for a license because we believe this is a form of censorship and that websites should not have to obtain permission from the government to operate. The editor in chief has to have been a member of the Jordan Press Association for at least four years, a condition that is obviously very hard to meet.” Ejeilat added. “This licence is a way for the government to control the news reported by websites.”
The eight other news sites that, like 7iber, were blocked on 30 June for “failing to meet the required conditions,” had filed applications for licences.
The Media Commission gave similar grounds for the earlier blocking of 263 websites, including 7iber, on 1 June 2013. Like 7iber, some had since become accessible again after changing their URL.
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