The arrest of two Jordanian activists on July 4 after attending a debate on the impact of Jordan’s press and publications law is illustrative of an ongoing crackdown by Jordanian authorities on free expression. Freedom House calls for the immediate release of both activists and for the government to allow for open public debate of the Press and Publications Law without fear of detention.
The blocking of over 200 online media outlets in Jordan impedes press freedom and imposes censorship on Jordanian citizens who seek information online. Freedom House calls for the revision of the country’s Press and Publications Law to reflect international norms of press freedom and access to information.
One year ago, U.S. lawmakers discovered what happens when you mess with the internet, as Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and millions of ordinary users helped “black out” the net on January 18 to protest SOPA and PIPA—two controversial pieces of legislation that were designed to fight online piracy, but threatened instead to censor the internet and disrupt the way it functions. Since that day, there has been a rise in new laws around the world that restrict free speech online and prompt arrests of internet users, a key trend identified in Freedom House’s 2012 Freedom on the Netreport.
As 2012 winds down, it is time again to reflect on the year’s human rights developments. Unfortunately, the bad seemed to outweigh the good this year, as many authoritarians held on to power and continued upheaval in the Middle East threatened to derail any democratic progress.