Ministry issues free anti-porn software in response to censorship demands

18 Sep 2014 12:45 AM

by Mohammad Ghazal |

AMMAN — In response to public demands, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on Sunday made software that enables Internet users to block pornographic content available on its website.

"Internet users wishing to block porn sites in Jordan can access the ministry's website at www.moict.gov.jo and download free software that blocks pornographic sites," a source at the ministry, who asked not to named, said on Sunday.

"A group of activists who started a campaign to block pornographic sites in Jordan met with officials at the ministry demanding that it block porn sites. We posted the anti-porn software on the ministry's website in response to repeated calls to block such sites," the source told The Jordan Times Sunday.

"We understand families’ concerns when they call for blocking these sites and the software can help address this problem," said the source.

Earlier this month, dozens of Jordanians, including parents, young activists and children, held a demonstration urging the government to block pornographic websites in the Kingdom.

The sit-in was arranged by a campaign launched on Facebook in February to block pornographic sites. The campaign had drawn more than 34,000 fans by Sunday.

The ministry also instructed local Internet service providers to block porn sites, the source said, and is cooperating with an international company to block online pornography in Jordan, where Internet penetration reached 53 per cent by the end of March this year.

Several citizens commended the decision.

"This is a good step. I will download the software on the computers at home as a precaution because my children use the Internet every day," Sabri Qaddoura, a father of five, said Sunday.

"Having this software installed on computers at home will help because sometimes when I use the Internet looking for some information, some porn links show up, and if the software can help in blocking these sites I will be more comfortable," Qaddoura, an electrical engineer, told The Jordan Times.

Mohammad Nasser, 30, also commended the ministry's decision to give citizens the choice to download the software rather than implementing blanket censorship.

"This is fair. It is better than blocking all porn sites in Jordan, as that may lead to blocking other sites in the future," said Nasser, a salesman.

"Those who want to protect their children and families can download the software and keep an eye on their kids. Maybe there are some people who do not want such sites blocked and this is fair for both sides," he added.