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Jordanian Media Licensing Law Shuts Down 300 Websites

A new media licensing law has caused a blackout among independent news sites in Jordan.
Jordanian woman, Nessma, looks at the Talasim website at an office in Amman September 30, 2009. Arabic website has been awarded the top prize at the international SeedCamp competition for start-up companies, which concluded in London on Saturday. The award followed a marathon competition in which 20 companies were chosen as finalists out of 1,500 contenders. The jackpot was a 50,000 euro ($73,155) prize. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji   (JORDAN POLITICS SCI TECH SOCIETY BUSINESS) - RTXP47M

In a surprise move only two weeks after promises to the contrary, the Jordanian government ordered three local Internet service providers to shut down nearly 300 news websites that have not been licensed by the government-run Press and Publications Department.

The decision ordered midday June 2 followed 10 months of promises by the government and the royal court that the controversial law ordering the owners of any website that deals with news and commentary about Jordan to be licensed. The order does not include web giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo.

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