Testing for Internet filtering during parliamentary elections in Jordan

ONI found no evidence of Internet tampering in Jordan during the November 20 parliamentary elections despite claims by the main opposition party that the polls were marred by vote-rigging and electoral fraud. ONI, through in-country testers, monitored online activities and accessibility to Web sites of political parties, political and independent media, and blogs and discussion forums where content critical of the government and the election process appears.

The testers conducted manual tests throughout the election period using the ISPs Batelco, orange, cyberia, and link. The testers were able to access all of the Web sites including that of the main opposition party, the Islamic Action Front (http://www.jabha.net), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Web sites of other political parties were also accessible.

The only Web site that was found to be inaccessible was arabtimes.com, a U.S.-based political newspaper. This site, however, has been inaccessible for the past few years and is not directly linked to the elections but it did publish content satirically critical of the government's election-related practices.

Jordan's Press and Publication Office announced (Arabic) last August that it will be monitoring online publications and will resort to regulating online content via the judiciary process when needed. This monitoring program may further restrict the online activities of journalists and online writers who already engage in self-censorship because of the broad provisions of the Press and Publications Law (See ONI Jordan country profile).
Many writers who are banned from publishing in local print media have switched to electronic publishing. There is fear that this monitoring program will be used to prosecute them and other writers who publish content critical of the government. (Al-Jazeera rerport)

Some countries in the Middle East and North Africa have, in the past, blocked Web sites at sensitive political events. For example, Bahrain banned access to several Web sites in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections. For example, Yemen blocked access to several media and local political Web sites during the country's 2006 presidential elections.

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