The Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) has formally requested that the Jordanian government remove articles in its draft Telecommunications Law that would allow the government to impose censorship, and otherwise control access to the Internet. The request came in a list of suggestions that were presented to the Ministry of ICT in regards to the new draft law. The suggestions also included introducing more open Web and net neutrality principles into the law.
The association has indicated that this is the first time the Jordanian cabinet has been given such powers, dealing a heavy blow to Internet freedoms in Jordan. In regards to that, the association’s president Issa Mahasneh, has stated, “The law according to this draft intends to give a legal cover to the Government to decree censorship guidelines, giving the Government the power to decide what Jordanian citizens can access on the Internet or not.”
He also deplored the attempt to introduce an article forbidding ISPs of allowing access to online pornographic material. The association did provide a series of alternatives for safer access to adult material without government intervention, such as the use of content-control software by network administrators in public offices, schools, and universities, as well as providing a family-safe Internet service by ISPs to interested parties. The association remains firmly adamant that its not the government’s place to decide what content is suitable for Jordanian citizens, and advocates a citizen-driven approach using freely available parental control software.
On the other hand, the association welcomed new articles in the draft law that increase fairness and competitiveness in radio spectrum management, and advocates freeing more radio frequency spectrum to serve new innovations in the field.