(NEW YORK) –– PEN America today called on Jordanian authorities to lift their ban on the satirical news website Al Hudood, in response to reports from the website’s editor-in-chief and news outlets saying authorities had blocked access to the website in the kingdom. A local technology rights group confirmed that the site has been inaccessible in Jordan since June 26. Along with the United Arab Emirates, Jordan is the only other Arab country to block the website, which publishes satirical news stories focusing on current events in the region in Arabic and English.

“Blocking a website that publishes satire shows intolerance toward criticism that is troubling, particularly when the same site is readily accessible in neighboring countries where the state of free expression is far more dire. The ban on Al Hudood in Jordan not only demonstrates a thin-skinned attitude toward satire, but also the government’s capriciousness toward open access to the internet. Jordanian authorities should lift the block on Al Hudood and ensure that Jordanians can freely access all points of view,” said Justin Shilad, PEN America’s research and advocacy lead for the Middle East and North Africa.

Jordanian authorities frequently block access to news websites and social media outlets such as Tiktok under its cybercrime law, which it also uses to target journalists and media outlets more broadly. The government also imposes gag orders during periods of unrest and heavily censor any news or commentary critical of the royal family.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit PEN.org

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057