• Population: 5,329,000
  • Internet users: 307,000 (2002)
  • Average charge for 20 hours of connection: 21 euros
  • DAI*: 0.45
  • Situation**: difficult

The Internet was much freer in Jordan than in other Arab countries until 2001, when it became more restricted. The government asked ISPs to block access to some independent news sites and pushed through laws threatening freedom of expression in the media, including the Internet.

The Internet has grown quite rapidly despite the country's poverty. Most cybercafés are in the capital, Amman, where private connections are cheapest. All ISPs must technically pass through a state firm to access the Internet, which mean all online messages can be monitored by the government.

Websites blocked

Access to the news sites www.arabtimes.com and www.arabmail.de is blocked from inside the country and they can only be reached through anonymizers (proxy sites). The radio station www.ammannet.net, the only Jordanian media exclusively online, has been harassed by the authorities and its journalists avoid sensitive topics.

Curbs on freedom of expression

Restrictions on the media were introduced in early October 2001, providing for temporary or permanent closure of newspapers if they published what supposedly libellous or false news that harmed national unity or the image of the state or encouraged strikes or illegal gatherings that disturbed public order. Penalties for insulting the king and queen or the crown prince were increased. Offenders became liable to prison sentences of between one and three years instead of just fines. The law said online material would be treated the same way as written material.


* The DAI (Digital Access Index) has been devised by the International Telecommunications Union to measure the access of a country's inhabitants to information and communication technology. It ranges from 0 (none at all) to 1 (complete access).

** Assessment of the situation in each country (good, middling, difficult, serious) is based on murders, imprisonment or harassment of cyber-dissidents or journalists, censorship of news sites, existence of independent news sites, existence of independent ISPs and deliberately high connection charges.


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