Jordan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.8 Other areas of relevant legislation

Freedom of expression and association

Within the Constitution, “Article 7: Personal freedom shall be guaranteed”, there is a clear mention of freedom of expression and opinion, and religion, which is further elaborated in “Article 14: The State shall safeguard the free exercise of all forms of worship and religious rites in accordance with the customs observed in the Kingdom, unless such is inconsistent with public order or morality”.


None-the-less, the parameters of freedom are defined and restricted in the by-laws, especially when it comes to issues concerning the state, the monarchy, and religion. Violations are not clearly defined in the by-laws, or in some cases are read as a contradiction. These disparities place the state in a position of power in declaring where these boundaries lie, leaving citizens in the dark as to how these violations are defined. The articles of the law below are an example of this:


Article 15
(i) The State shall guarantee freedom of opinion. Every Jordanian shall be free to express his opinion by speech, in writing, or by means of photographic representation and other forms of expression, provided that such does not violate the law.

(ii) Freedom of the press and publications shall be ensured within the limits of the law.

(iii) Newspapers shall not be suspended from publication nor shall their permits be revoked except in accordance with the provisions of the law.

(iv) In the event of the declaration of martial law or a state of emergency, a limited censorship on newspapers, publications, books and broadcasts in matters affecting public safety and national defence may be imposed by law.

(v) Control of the resources of newspapers shall be regulated by law.


Article 18
All postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications shall be treated as secret and as such shall not be subject to censorship or suspension except in circumstances prescribed by law. 4

While the articles in the Constitution clearly state rights to freedom of expression and freedom in the media, these are not practised. Control and censorship of media is seen throughout the public establishment and maintenance of the most widely distributed newspapers. Also, and up until the wide dissemination of satellite television stations in the 90s, Jordan TV was the only station (aside from the Syrian, Israeli and Cypriote stations) available to the public. This indicates that the media and its content were under state control until the wide accessibility of satellite. 


Cultural industries

While creative industries are not recognised in Jordanian law, independent efforts have been put forward to define the field’s problems and needs through Creative Jordan – a Platform for Visual Ideas that is part of the EUNIC MENA Creative Industries Project and is carried out by the EUNIC Cluster Jordan (British Council, Institute Français, Goethe Institute, Institute Cervantes, Società Dante Alighieri) and supported by the EU Delegation to Jordan. The Platform started with a meeting in 2012 for creative people and organisations in Jordan and other organisations from different countries in the Arab World, with the intention of showing the diversity of creative Industries, envisioning ways of encouraging innovation, stimulating entrepreneurship and developing new markets.[1] The project in 2012 organised a forum in May 2012 at the Dead Sea in Jordan, alongside a program of talks, creative trails, presentations, and workshops. In 2013, the project continued with more in-depth analysis of the challenges and proposed solutions as proposed by the creative producers themselves through a series of focus group sessions for sectors of the field. The outcomes of the focus groups were published in Arabic and English in print (with the intention of uploading it online soon). The outcomes of the sessions were then used to formulate a series of workshops that focused on specific subjects, as well as a symposium that concluded the outcomes of the findings of that year.



[1]http://www.eunic-online.eu/node/856, http://www.creativejordan.org


Chapter published: 04-05-2016


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