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Government blocks dozens of independent news websites

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 5 August 2010, the Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) issued a statement urging the Jordanian government to reconsider its decision to block dozens of websites from being viewed by civil servants. The government has recently blocked more than 40 websites in all public workplaces, claiming that browsing the internet is a waste of work time and a huge drain on public money.

However, after the decision was implemented, it was found that most of the blocked sites are independent news portals that report on what the state-owned news agencies would conceal, especially public opinion issues such as the teachers' crisis, veterans' status and the rights of day labourers. Topping the blocked independent news sites are http://www.khaberni.com , http://ammonnews.net , and http://allofjo.net .

Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director, said, "The decision to block the websites is not only a violation against the freedom of information, which is a human right, but also a decision that assumes that citizens are naïve and will accept such poor reasoning as well. The government knows quite well that this decision will not improve performance at work. The government should solve problems and make reform plans instead of concealing news and blocking sites."

Internet users in Jordan represent 28% of the population, amounting to 1.8 million users, half of whom are active members of Facebook.

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