By Brian Whitaker
".......There are three principal mechanisms for restricting press freedom in Jordan. One is the anachronistic Press and Publications Law of 1998 which was heavily criticised even before parliament approved it. Another is the Jordanian Press Association (JPA), a body established under a separate law, which regulates the activities of journalists. Finally, there is an atmosphere of intimidation which results in extensive self-censorship.
Besides bringing websites under the aegis of the Press and Publications Law and its licensing system, the authorities are also trying to tie websites into the Jordanian Press Association by requiring websites to appoint an editor-in-chief who is a member of the JPA.
This aspect has not been much discussed, but it's worth a closer look.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the JPA is to maintain professional standards by ensuring that journalists are properly trained and adhere to ethical principles. Others view it as a tool for keeping journalists in line politically.....
The JPA's code of ethics (in Arabic) contains some odd ideas about the duty of journalists – they are supposed to affirm national unity, support the judiciary, refrain from insulting the authorities, show commitment to the religious and moral values of society and not agitate about crimes and scandals – but compulsory membership is the biggest problem......."