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JPA renews call to reconsider cybercrime bill

By JT - Jul 26,2023 - Last updated at Jul 26,2023

AMMAN — The Jordan Press Association (JPA) on Wednesday expressed regret over the Lower House Legal Committee’s refusal to accept the association's objections to the cybercrime bill.  

In a statement, the JPA said the decision to reduce fines by 50 per cent is appreciated, but the move is insufficient, as fines remain high and vague terms in the bill remain unchanged. 

The window of opportunity is not closed yet for the MPs to introduce amendments, as they deliberate over the draft law on Thursday. 

The association stressed that it stands against any violations or abuses against journalists that may occur on social media platforms. However, actions that impact freedom of the press are "unacceptable".

The statement expressed hope that the Senate would review the bill, engaging with all relevant stakeholders to reflect upon the proposed amendments, namely clauses pertaining to fines and legal terminology.

The JPA confirmed it will continue lobbying against the draft bill and will support efforts to introduce amendments that include deleting item (c) under Article 19. Meanwhile, the JPA council delegation will deliver a copy of JPA's legal opinion on the draft law to the Senate in an attempt to include the suggested changes.   

Further, the JPA condemned the US State Department’s "interference" in Jordan's internal affairs.

Earlier in the day, the US State Department issued a statement expressing concerns over the cybercrime bill. “The proposed cybercrime law that was submitted to the Jordanian parliament limits freedom of expression online and offline, and could inhibit future investment in the technology sector. This type of law, with vague definitions and concepts, could undermine Jordan’s homegrown economic and political reform efforts and further shrink the civic space that journalists, bloggers and other members of civil society operate in Jordan.  We reiterate that for countries to thrive there must be protections for freedom of expression, open debate, vibrant discourse and information sharing, including online via press and social media platforms as well,” the statement said.



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