Thursday, August 08, 2013

Jordanian Local Media's Travails

A lot of petty corruption in, frankly, the entire world happens at the local level, below the radar of major news organizations.  This is why even a decade ago when al-Jazeera was at the height of covering problems in the Arab world, the lack of a strong local media in the region was a problem.  IPS today reports on the suppression of local media outlets in Jordan:
In two waves, at the beginning of June and again in early July, Jordan’s Department of Press and Publications blocked nearly 300 websites for violating its press law. The government alleged the sites had failed to secure licenses required under the controversial amendments to the law in September last year...
Five of the blocked websites – AmmanNet, JO24, Ain News, Khabar Jo, and All of Jo – filed a lawsuit against the government Jul. 25 challenging the constitutionality of the amended press law as well as the legality of the procedure by which the ban was imposed...
As websites wait for these lawsuits to proceed, they are using other creative ways to fight back – developing mirror sites, handing out instructions to get around the ban, publishing news via Facebook or other social media, and holding public protests and debates on the law...
Over the past decade, electronic media and news sites have blossomed in Jordan, providing new platforms for reporting and for public discussion. Some see this development as worrying for the government, particularly since the start of the Arab Spring two years ago.

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