The King of Jordan has passed a bill to criminalize online speech that threatens national unity. The latest legislation has received widespread condemnation from human rights organizations calling the bill “draconian”. The legislation will seriously undermine freedom of speech and their right to information, but Jordan said is aiming at keeping the country united.
Prison & Fine
Individuals could face up to months in prison and hefty fines if found convicted of sharing views that threaten national unity, the Associated press reported. While national unity may seem quite reasonable for some, the vagueness of the bill will give powers to the law enforcement agencies to crackdown on innocent civilians. Jordanian lawmakers have argued that the bill was necessary to punish online scammers and blackmailers.
Human Rights At Risk
Multiple human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch have termed the new legislation as a direct assault on the fundamental human right of free speech. A coalition of 14 human rights groups said the vague provisions in the law will empower LEAs to punish people without the due process of law.