World Day Against Cyber Censorship – Jordan: Transparency, not Censorship

الجمعة 12 آذار 2010

internetcyber1In Jordan, on the world day against cyber censorship, the government is in ecstasy. Orgasmic waves are flooding the hypocrisy laden political atmosphere.It has been a while since we last heard about applying the print and publications law to the online environment. Some might have thought that the government decided to forgo this freedom of speech choking policy. If you are one of those, then you are mistaken, intimidation is still alive and kicking; one might even argue that it is stronger than ever.

What is different this time however, is that we have a “new” brigade carrying the “regulation” banner. The “liberal” Al Ghad news paper is leading the herd where they assumed the position of “alpha dog”. Ibrahim Ghraibeh of the same paper argues that it is not fair to have different laws governing both the print and the online media, thus he suggests “regulating” online outlets in a way that makes the issue of accountability less vague. What he fails to mention however is that such “regulation” will only serve to provide another persecution tool to the already unaccountable powers that be. Eesa Elshoaibe of Al Ghad goes further and assumes the “we are under attack” position to defend his paper against what he called a “poisonous campaign.” Both writers agree however in their call for immediate action so that the “nation” can salvage what is left. Interestingly, Mohammad ElMoumani declares that the need for regulation “debate” is over and that “we” now need to move a step further and “debate” how the regulation will look like!

Saleh Gallab’s “oomph” is now Al Ghad’s. The guy is busy “fixing” the government’s TV, so someone had to step in and fill the “void” that was left and felt by his absence!

The Trojan horse has been successfully wheeled in.

What is needed is not regulating speech but rather pushing for transparency at all levels. The logic behind this is simple: if the information is out there and is accessible in a timely fashion, speech will regulate itself. People will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Rumors will become less of a phenomenon and rather than wasting time trying to draw useless “red lines” journalists will be able to spend more time investigating. It is in our interest as a nation to have those red lines completely erased because if the sun rises from the east then unchecked power corrupts. To believe that someone has the interest of the nation at heart should be separated from how we look at the actions of that person or entity. It is true that leaders come packaged with their good and bad all mixed together,but lest not forget that the good in leaders shouldn’t make the bad unquestionable. Lest not forget that moral and ethical accountability to the people requires leaders to be forthcoming with their people. It also requires them to lead by example.

I feel betrayed each time I hear some of our leaders talking ideals to the west while we live in an autocratic environment. In a way I feel that they are our handlers not our leaders. So yeah, lets cut the B.S. and if our handlers are not willing to lead then they need to go.Our time is now so lets claim what is ours.

Our freedoms.

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