On Tuesday 21st June, Jordan’s Information Minister Taher Adwan resigned. He said this was done in protest over the proposed laws which he said would restrict freedom of expression and hinder reform.
Mr Adwan, who favoured the introduction of more democratic laws was shocked to see the proposals, which he claimed would lower the ceiling of press freedoms.
The government proposed to introduce much tougher penalties for slander and defamation and have accused the papers of mounting a smear campaign against prominent figures.
But online dissent (Jordan’s internet is fairly free when compared to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Syria) is growing and people are calling for greater reforms and a crackdown on corruption which these proposals, if anything, contradict.
Businessmen are also concerned. Jordan has in the past been viewed as one of the more open Arab states and there is fear that these changes could hurt investment and create an atmosphere of intimidation.