Jordanian FlagNGO Law Monitor: Jordan

Introduction | At a Glance | Key Indicators | International Rankings
Legal Snapshot | Legal Analysis | Reports | News and Additional Resources
Last updated 21 November 2015

Update: Jordan’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a new mechanism to regulate foreign funding for CSOs in Jordan. The new regulation, issued in late October, is designed to further implement Jordan’s Law on Societies No. 51 of 2008, which already requires that civil society organizations (CSOs) obtain prior approval from the government before receiving foreign funding. According to the new regulation, CSOs must submit a lengthy and complicated application form for government approval in order to receive and use funds from outside Jordan. To complete the form, CSOs must provide detailed information on the specific project the funds will support, including a budget for each activity and project monitoring and evaluation indicators; they must establish that the project is linked to Jordan’s “national and development goals;” and they must attach numerous supporting documents. The requirements of the form exceed what is required by Law No. 51, and impose additional constraints on an already unduly restrictive regime for funding of CSOs in Jordan.


Civil society in Jordan has roots within the tribal system, which is deeply embedded in society and operates alongside the formally established legal system. The tribes in Jordan play a political role, offer an alternative judicial system, and provide services to communities. Indeed, the formal legal system, in defining societies, does not eliminate the tribal concept of “families.”

Many formal civil society organizations (CSOs) in Jordan initially focused on charitable and aid activities. Once Jordan acceded to international conventions, such as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, some CSOs emerged to raise public awareness in relation to human rights, including the rights of assembly and association. At the same time, however, fundamental rights and freedoms are still subject to governmental interference, due to the Government’s claims of protecting national security.

Jordan’s legal system is based on civil law (the French code) and Sharia law (applied in certain cases). Until recently, CSOs were governed by the Law on Societies and Social Bodies (Law 33 of 1966), which allowed for extensive government interference in CSOs’ internal affairs. In 2008, the Law on Societies (Law 51 of 2008) was enacted; although an improvement, the new law was met with criticism for not going far enough to remove restrictions on civic space in Jordan. As a partial response to these criticisms, the 2008 Law on Societies was amended in 2009 by the Law Amending the Law on Societies (Law 22 of 2009).  

Back to Top

At a Glance

Organizational Forms Societies (associations), closed societies (foundations), and private societies (not-for-profit companies)
Registration Body National Registry of Societies of the Ministry of Social Development
Note: The Registry is an independent entity and not considered a department
Approximate Number

3,800 (Ministry of Social Development, 2013)

Barriers to Entry Societies may not have any "political goals." They must have a minimum of seven members. Approval is required from the Council of Ministers for registration of any society in which a founder is a legal person or non-Jordanian and in case of registration of a foundation.
Barriers to Activities Societies are restricted from "activities of political parties."
Criminal defamation laws.
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy No legal barriers to speech or advocacy, but in practice, vocal human rights organizations may face difficulties in dealing with government.
Barriers to International Contact No legal barriers
Barriers to Resources

Prior approval is required to receive foreign funding and to collect donations from the public.

Barriers to Assembly Notification is required 48 hours prior to an assembly, and unauthorized assemblies are illegal. Authorities may disperse or otherwise suppress assemblies on vague grounds

Back to Top

Key Indicators

Population 7,930,491 (July 2014 est.)
Capital Amman
Type of Government Constitutional monarchy
Life Expectancy at Birth Male: 72. 79 years
Female: 75. 5 years (2014 est.)
Literacy Rate Male: 78. 91 years
Female: 81. 77 years (2013 est.)
Religious Groups Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
Ethnic Groups Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
GDP Per Capita $6,100 (2013 est.)

Source: The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2014.

Back to Top

International Rankings

Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale
(best - worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 77 (2014) 1 – 187
World Bank Rule of Law Index 69.7 (2014) 100 – 0
World Bank Voice & Accountability Index 26.6 (2014) 100 – 0
Transparency International 55 (2014) 1 175
Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Not Free
Political Rights: 6
Civil Liberties: 5 (2015)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 81 (2015) 177 – 1

Back to Top

Legal Snapshot

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1975
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) No --
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1975
Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR) No --
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1974
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1992
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women No --
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1991
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) No --
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Yes 2008
Key Regional Agreements Ratification* Year
Arab Charter on Human Rights Yes 2004

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

The Constitution of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was adopted in 8 January 1952. 

Relevant constitutional provisions include:

  • Article 15: (1) The State guarantees freedom of opinion, and every Jordanian shall be free to express his opinion by speech, in writing, or by means of photographic representation and other forms of expression, provided that such does not violate the law. (2) Freedom of the press and publications shall be ensured within the limits of the law. (3) Newspapers shall not be suspended from publication nor shall their permits be revoked except in accordance with the provisions of the law.
  • Article 16: (1) Jordanians shall have the right to hold meetings within the limits of the law. (2) Jordanians are entitled to establish societies and political parties provided that the objects of such societies and parties are lawful, their methods peaceful, and their by-laws not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. (3) The establishment of societies and political parties and the control of their resources shall be regulated by law.

Jordan’s Constitution was amended in 2011. Articles 15 and 16 were amended as follows:

  • Article 15: (1) The State guarantees freedom of opinion, and every Jordanian shall be free to express his opinion by speech, in writing, or by means of photographic representation and other forms of expression, provided that such does not violate the law. (2) Freedom of scientific research and literary, artistic, cultural, and athletic creativity shall be ensured provided that it does not contradict with the law or the public order or moral. (3) Freedom of the press, printing, publications and media shall be ensured within the limits of the law. (4) Newspapers shall not be suspended from publication nor shall their permits be revoked except by a judicial order and in accordance with the provisions of the law. (5) In case of declaration of martial law or state of emergency, it is permissible that the law imposes limited censorship on newspapers and publications, books, media and communication in matters related to public safety and national defense purposes. (6) the law shall specify means of censorship on the resources of newspapers.
  • Article 16: (1) Jordanians shall have the right to hold meetings within the limits of the law. (2) Jordanians are entitled to establish societies, syndicates and political parties provided that the objects of such societies and parties are lawful, their methods peaceful, and their by-laws not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. (3) The establishment of societies, syndicates and political parties and the control of their resources shall be regulated by law.

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

  • The Law on Societies (Law 51 of 2008); and the Law Amending the Law on Societies (Law 22 of 2009)
  • Instructions to Adjust the Positions of Societies (Ministry of Social Development Instruction 148 of 2010)
  • Regulation on Private Societies (Ministry of Social Development Regulation 32 of 2010)
  • Non-Profit Companies Regulation (Ministry of Industry and Trade Regulation 60 of 2007)
  • Regulation to Identify the Relevant Ministry of Societies (Ministry of Social Development Regulation 13 of 2009)
  • Regulation for the Collection of Charitable Donations (Ministry of Social Development Regulation 1 of 1957)
  • Penal Code (Law 16 of 1960, as amended)
  • Regulation on Private Societies (Ministry of Social Development Regulation 32 of 2010)
  • Non-Profit Companies Regulation (Ministry of Industry and Trade Regulation 60 of 2007)
  • Regulation No. (67) of 2010 on Unions.
  • Regulation on the Provisions of the Association’s Bylaws No. (57) of 2010.
  • Regulation on the Charity Lottery and its amendments.
  • Instructions to Adjust the Legal Status of Societies (Ministry of Social Development Instruction 148 of 2010)
  • Instructions on Categorizing Societies.
  • Instructions on Competent Ministries.
  • Instructions on Using the Societies Support Fund to Fund and Support Societies.
  • Articles of Association for the General Union of Voluntary Societies (as amended in 1996)
  • Order of Licensing and Registering Youth Clubs and Organizations (2005)
  • Income Tax Law (Law 57 of 1985)
  • Penal Code (Law 16 of 1960)

Although the 2009 amendments streamlined and liberalized the 2008 Law on Societies, they have nevertheless been criticized by domestic and international NGOs for not going far enough. Among other changes, procedures allowing for the registration and continued operation of foundations (referred to as “closed societies”) and not-for-profit companies (“private societies”) were added; and the registration process was simplified with the creation of a one-stop location for registration. (Previously registration applications were to be passed between multiple ministries in a lengthy process that allowed for independent approval or rejection of applications by different authorities). Significantly, the 2009 amendments did not liberalize the foreign funding provisions of the 2008 law that require Jordanian societies to get approval from the full Council of Ministers (cabinet) before accepting funding from abroad.

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

We are unaware of any other pending legislative/regulatory initiatives affecting civil society organizations at this time. Please help keep us informed; if you are aware of pending legal or regulatory initiatives, write to ICNL at

Back to Top

Legal Analysis

Organizational Forms

According to the Law 51 of 2008 as amended by Law 22 of 2009, there are three (3) available legal forms for civil society. Foreign not-for-profit organizations are also permitted to establish branch offices in Jordan.

Society: A society is a group of not less than seven individuals that provide services or conduct activities on a voluntary basis. Societies are registered at the Ministry of Social Development and supervised by the competent ministry to which the society’s objectives are related. Membership in a society is open to anyone that meets its membership criteria, which are specified within its articles of incorporation. Societies may benefit from income tax exemptions and charitable status.

Closed Society: A closed society is a society of one or more member(s) where its financial resources are limited to the funds/money paid by the founding members to achieve its objectives. Closed societies are registered at the Ministry of Social Development, and require the approval of the Council of Ministers to be registered. Closed societies are supervised by the competent ministry to which the society’s objectives are related.

Private Society: A private society is a society with a limited number of members, which should not be less than three and not more than twenty. Private societies are registered at the Ministry of Social Development, and are also supervised by the competent ministry to which the society’s objectives are related. If the membership of a Private society is limited to one legal person, approval of the Council of Ministers is required. Private societies do not have an open membership scheme, and were formerly known as not-for-profit companies.

Foreign Societies: Law 51 of 2008 and its amendments allow operating branches of foreign societies to be registered in Jordan. The registration of branches of foreign societies is handled by the Ministry of Social Development.

According to the 2008 law, societies and private Societies are eligible to receive local funding, foreign funding (after notifying the Council of Ministers), and funding from the public Fund for the Support of Societies. Closed societies are prohibited from seeking any kind of funding other than the money contributed by their members. Foreign societies may not seek local funding without the prior approval of the Council of Ministers.

Public Benefit Status

The Law on Societies No. 51 of 2008 and its Amendments of 2009 provides in Article 29 that Christian religious entities and religious orders operating in the Kingdom shall have the right to undertake charitable services which aim for the public benefit. These include, but are not limited to: the establishment of a shelter, an educational institute for the needy, or a community center for the poor; the distribution of financial or in-kind assistance in a regulated fashion; the provision of medical treatment or care in a regulated fashion; and other similar social services which support the public good. Such activities and services require the prior approval of the Board of the Registry.  

Also, according to the Regulations for the Collection of Charitable Donations, as amended, registered and unregistered groups or individuals are not authorized to collect donations for purposes other than those listed in their by-laws, unless they intend to do so for public benefit purposes.  

The Income Tax Law (Law 75 of 1985) makes the income of societies and other social entities eligible for tax exemption. It allows for the income of any religious, charitable, cultural, educational, sports, and health organizations with public benefit purposes to be tax-exempt as well. Societies must apply to the Income Tax Department requesting recognition for tax-exempt status. The Department verifies whether the eligibility criteria stated in Article 7 of the Income Tax Law has been met by the applicant, and issues a decision to that effect.

In addition, the Income Tax Law grants certain societies charitable status. Societies with religious, charitable, humanitarian, scientific, cultural, sports, or professional purposes are eligible to apply for charitable status. Donations made to societies with charitable status are exempted from income tax; the exempted income, however, should not exceed one-quarter of the taxable income of the donor. For the society to benefit from charitable status, a request should be submitted to the Council of Ministers requesting recognition of the society as charitable. The Council of Ministers will then verify the eligibility of the applicant society and issue a decree to this effect.

Barriers to Entry

Law 51 of 2008 as amended makes registration of societies mandatory. It does not specify a sanction for unregistered groups, but it does stipulate that the law does not prevent the application of any penalty stipulated in any other law. The Penal Code (Law 16 of 1960 and its amendments) stipulates that unregistered societies are illegal, and that individuals who conduct activities for such unregistered groups or become members thereof are subject to a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment.

Founding members of societies must be Jordanian citizens; fully competent and at least 18 years old; and not convicted of a crime or felony involving morals. The Council of Ministers is required to give approval where one of the founders is non-Jordanian or a corporate identity. Approval from the Council of Ministers is also necessary for all closed societies and for private societies of only one member. 

Founding members of societies must be Jordanian citizens, legally competent, at least 18 years old, and may not be convicted of a misdemeanor crime or felony involving morals. Approval from the Council of Ministers is required if one of the founders is non-Jordanian or a corporate identity. Approval from the Council of Ministers is also necessary for all closed societies and for private societies of only one member. 

Jordanian law provides the Council of the Registry of Societies with 60 days from the day it receives an application for registration, in order to review it, and 15 days from the date of receipt of approval on the application for the Registry Officer to complete registration procedures. However, if the application is submitted to one of the departments of the Ministry of Social Development located outside the capital, the department is required to send the application to the Registry within 7 days. It shall also be noted that in case any of the registration requirements is missing, the Registry shall notify the applicant within 15 days of the receipt of the application. In practice, therefore, a society applicant may have to wait 90-97 days from the date of submitting his application before he receives proof of his registered legal status. The Council of the Registry of Societies has the right to reject any application without stating a justification.

The law prohibits the registration of any society with illegal objectives or that contradict the public order in Jordan. CSOs are also prohibited from having any political goals or practicing activities of political parties. Registration of masonic societies or carrying out masonic activities is also prohibited.

Finally, a branch of a society registered in a foreign state can be registered in the Kingdom for the purpose of conducting activities, provided that it does have any political or religious goals. 

Barriers to Operational Activity

Societies may not pursue any political goals that are governed by the Law on Political Parties. Neither the Law on Societies nor the Law on Political Parties defines the term "political."

Societies are obliged to inform the Registry and the Relevant Minister of the date of their General Assembly meetings at least two weeks in advance, or the meetings will be deemed illegal. Both the Minister and the Registry Officer may appoint delegates to represent them in such meetings. The approval of the Council of Registry of Societies is required for any resolutions by the General Assembly in order to amend the society’s articles of incorporation.

Law 51 of 2008 requires that all societies submit the following: (1) a copy of the general assembly resolutions within fifteen days from the date of the meeting; (2) an annual plan; and (3) an annual report reflecting the CSO’s achievements, activities, and any received donations or funds. In addition, societies with a budget of more than 2,000 Jordanian dinars are also required to submit an audited annual balance sheet. The financial accounts of societies with a budget less than 2,000 Jordanian Dinars shall be reviewed by the Relevant Ministry. 

In accordance with the Instruction to Adjust the Legal Status of Societies, entities listed in the Instructions must adjust their status as per the Law on Societies. Such adjustment shall be done by submitting an application to the Relevant Ministry, which shall review the application within 7 weeks from its receipt. If the society is missing any documentation, the Ministry will notify the society and grant it 30 days to submit the requested documents. The Relevant Ministry shall within two weeks send complete applications to the Registry, which shall study them and once again notify the applicants in case of any missing documents. In the latter case, the applicants are required to hand all the missing documents within 30 days; the Board of the Registry, however, may prolong this period for another 30 days. 

Additionally, a society’s Board of Directors must be composed of Jordanian citizens who are fully competent, at least 18 years old, and not convicted of a crime or felony involving morals. Article 27(a) provides that an individual who has been judged guilty according to the provisions of Article 26 of the Law (which include penalties for accepting any donation, support, or funding without declaring it or without recording it in the society’s records) may not be a member of the Board of Directors of any society. In the cases stated in Article 19 of the Law, including if a society accepts any support or funding from any source without disclosing and recording it in its financial records, the Relevant Minister shall appoint an interim Board of Directors for a society in order to undertake its tasks. The Board of the Registry may also, upon a recommendation from the Relevant Minister, decide two or more registered societies may be merged if such societies have the same goals and objectives.

According to Article 20(b) of the Law, the Board of the Registry may decide to dissolve the society in certain cases, including if a society retains or uses donations or funding from a non-Jordanian individual. Such dissolution must take place upon the recommendation of the Relevant Minister, and the Board’s decision must be justified. Article 20(a) of the Law also provides that the society shall be considered dissolved if it ceases to progress in its work or perform its work for one year, or if it fails to adjust its status to conform with the Law (discussed above).

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

There are two legal restrictions on a society’s speech that are worthy of note: criminal defamation law and the prohibition against political activity. 

First, any expression that constitutes defamation or libel of government officials is subject to sanction under the Penal Code. The Penal Code of Jordan defines defamation and libel to include attaching false accusations to a person or treating a person disrespectfully through speech, writing, drawings, and other forms of communication. Libel and defamation against a public official carries more severe penalties, ranging from two weeks to three years imprisonment. 

Second, societies are prohibited by law from conducting political activities or having any political objectives. Political activities are not defined in either the Societies Law or the Political Parties Law. Such vague terminology invites government discretion and potentially subjects societies to a chilling effect in their expressive activity. 

Barriers to International Contact

There are no legal restrictions on international contact. 

Barriers to Resources

Foreign Funding

According to Law No. 51, foreign funding, including any gifts, grants, or donations given to a society, is subject to the prior notification and approval of the Council of Ministers. Pursuant to an administrative requirement issued in October 2015, societies must complete and submit an extensive application form, providing detailed information about the source of the funds and the project to be funded. Among other things, for instance, the form requires budgets for all project activities, their monitoring and evaluation indicators, and ways in which the project is linked to Jordan’s “national and development goals.” The form must be accompanied by numerous supporting documentation. The Council of Ministers shall issue its decision within thirty days; if it does not refuse the funding within thirty days, the funding is deemed to be approved.

In case a society receives a donation or funding from a non-Jordanian without notifying the Council, or in violation of the Council’s refusal, the Council of Ministers shall transfer the funds or donation to the account of the Support Fund (unless the donor or funder refuses this action). The society will also be subject to any sanctions or other procedures stipulated in the Law and other legislation in force which have been mentioned in previous sections.

Domestic Funding

There are no restrictions on the ability of societies to seek domestic funding or to conduct income-generating projects or economic activities, provided that such income is allocated for the society’s objectives and not distributed amongst its founders or members. Public fundraising requires the prior approval of the Ministry of Social Development as per Regulation 1 of 1957. In addition, Article 9(c) of the Law does not allow a branch of a foreign society to collect donations or receive funding within the Kingdom except with the prior consent of the Council of Ministers.

According to the Regulation for the Collection of Charitable Donations No. 1 of 1957 as amended, societies that wish to collect donations for charity must be registered and must submit an application to the Ministry at least one month in advance. The Ministry shall decide on the application within a maximum of three weeks after consulting with the relevant entities and ministries, and studying the activities of the society and its financial status. If the charitable donations will be spent outside the Kingdom, then the collection of donations shall be made through a temporary committee or entity that is authorized by the Ministry; the society shall provide evidence that the donations are to be spent for charitable purposes; and the society shall receive an authorization from the Ministry of Finance to spend the donations (whether in cash or in kind) outside the Kingdom.

The collecting committees and entities shall not be allowed to collect donations more than twice annually unless the governing documents of the society includes more than one activity. After the completion of the collection process, the society shall deposit the donations in its bank account and shall inform the Ministry of the donated amount and date of deposition in the bank.

Societies’ accounts do not enjoy financial secrecy in the face of any inquiry presented by the Relevant Minister or the Registry.

Barriers to Assembly

Lack of Legal Protections. The 1952 Constitution protects freedom of assembly, but only for Jordanian citizens. Article 16 provides that "Jordanians have the right to assembly within the limits of the law." Similarly, Article 3(a) in the Public Assemblies Law (“Assembly Law”) stipulates that, "Jordanians are entitled to hold public assemblies and organize demonstrations." As such, Jordanian law fails to protect the right of non-citizens to freedom of assembly.

In addition, Article 2(e) of the Instructions Regulating Public Assemblies and Demonstrations of 2011 stipulates that participants in assemblies should cooperate with security forces to prevent previously-convicted individuals from participating in assemblies. This further violates the international law principle that the right to freedom of assembly should be available to everyone.

Advance Notification. Article 4 of the Assembly Law requires organizers to notify the administrative governor (according to Article 2, "the administrative governor is the governor, the district chief, or the provincial chief") at least 48 hours prior to holding an assembly or demonstration. Article 5 deems any assemblies organized in the absence of such prior notification to be unlawful. Accordingly any form of spontaneous demonstration is considered unlawful and punishable under the law. 

Vague Provisions. The Assembly Law also contains vague language that provides authorities with undue discretion in their ability to disperse public gatherings and penalize assembly participants. For example, under Article 7, the administrative governor “may order the dismissal of an assembly or scattering of a demonstration the way he deems fit if the assembly’s or demonstration’s objectives change.” Such language allows the state broad leeway in dispersing a public gathering under the law. Article 8 of the Assembly Law further provides that anyone who violates “public security and order” and/or causes damage to others or to public and private funds, may be liable both civilly and criminally. This provision is vague and unnecessary, as the Penal Code already applies for specific public disorder offenses, and again gives the state undue discretion in penalizing participants in public assemblies.

Time, Place, Manner Restrictions. Article 2(c) of the Instructions Regulating Public Assemblies and Demonstrations 2011 prohibits “slogans, cheers, cartoons, pictures, or symbols that compromise state sovereignty, national unity or law and order.” Accordingly, assemblies and demonstrations that include such elements are also prohibited under the law. Further, Article 2(f) of the Instructions states that assemblies must not disrupt vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This may not be feasible in many instances, and unduly infringes individuals’ right to assemble in public spaces.

Penalties and Sanctions. Article 10 of the Assembly Law stipulates that “whoever violates the provisions of the law will be subject to imprisonment of no less than a month and no more than three months, or a fine of no less than JOD 200 and no more than JOD 1,000, or both penalties.” These penalties are disproportionately harsh. They may also have a chilling effect, discouraging individuals from exercising their right to assemble for fear of punishment in case there is any violation of the law, no matter how trivial.

Back to Top


UN Universal Periodic Review Reports National Report
Compilation of UN Information
Report of the Working Group
Summary of Stakeholders' Information
Decision on the Outcome
Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs Jordan
USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes Not available
U.S. State Department 2014 Report on Human Rights Practices: Jordan
Fragile States Index Reports Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index
IMF Country Reports Jordan: Selected Issues: 2012
Jordan: Fifth Post-Program Monitoring Discussions - Staff Report
Jordan: Press Release on the Executive Board Consideration
International Commission of Jurists Not available
NGO Regulation Network Reports Jordan
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library Jordan

Back to Top

News and Additional Resources

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at

Media experts call for raising ceiling of press freedom (December 2014)
A three-day forum in Amman highlighted the major role media in the Arab world plays in holding authorities accountable, and declining press freedoms in Jordan and elsewhere in the region.

Jordan drops seven places on Press Freedom Index (February 2014)
The annual index from Reporters Without Borders found newly tightened restrictions on media, particularly Internet media, resulting in Jordan’s drop in global rankings. The report cited the blocking of hundreds of news websites under a new media law that “drastically” constrains online freedom of information.

Jordan as candidate for the UN Human Rights Council should be pressured for legal reform (November 2013)
Human Rights Watch states that Jordan should be pressured to amend its penal code by removing all the provisions that restrict the freedoms of expression, association and assembly.   

45 Societies are registered monthly mostly for charitable purposes (November 2013)
The database of the Societies Registry indicates that 446 societies have been registered from the beginning of this year; most of these societies are charitable (around 289).

Jordanian activists protest against potential US strike on Syria (September 2013)
Around 200 Jordanian activists chanting “America is the head of the snake” have protested the anticipated U.S. strike on neighboring Syria. It was the biggest Jordanian anti-U.S. gathering since President Barack Obama threatened a “limited” strike on Syrian targets in response to an alleged August 21 chemical attack blamed on Bashar Assad’s regime. A similar protest last week drew only a couple of dozen activists.

End protester trials in state security courts (November 2012)
Jordanian authorities should stop using state security courts to try civilians, including for participating in peaceful protests. Protests have intensified following an announcement by the government on November 14, 2012 that it would end fuel subsidies. [...]“Instead of respecting the right to peaceful protest, the Jordanian authorities are using what remains essentially a military court to punish civilians, including peaceful protesters,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should stop using the special security courts to try civilians, and recognize that peaceful assembly is not a crime.”

UN food relief agency chief stresses need to strengthen aid to Syrian refugees (November 2012)
The head of the United Nations food relief agency said the world body and its partners are intensifying their efforts to assist Syrian refugees who continue to grow in numbers due to the violence in the Middle Eastern country. “The humanitarian situation is evolving on a daily basis and we must ensure that we can continue to meet the food needs of those affected by the conflict,” said Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

Protesters call for king's 'downfall' as demonstrations escalate (November 2012)
Around 2,000 people called for the removal Jordan's King Abdullah at a rally in downtown Amman on Friday in protest of fuel price hikes, in a marked escalation of street anger in the third day of demonstrations in the kingdom. Criticizing the King in public is forbidden in Jordan and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

Jordanian website owners reject attempts to gag them (September 2012)
Among the most important rights achieved by Arab demonstrators in the past two years are the freedoms of assembly and of expression. Millions of Arabs gathered demanding an end to autocratic rules and a share in the political decision-making processes in their countries. Now Jordanians are fighting back against restrictions on their online activities.

Demonstrators call for release of jailed protesters (September 2012)
Hundreds of Jordanians called for the release of over one-dozen jailed protesters as demonstrations over the men's detention stretched into their third week. Dozens of leftist and independent activists hit the streets in cities across the country calling for the "immediate release" of 18 protesters arrested earlier this month, accusing the authorities of enforcing "martial law".

Jordan moves to censor online freedom of expression (September 2012)
A proposed law requiring electronic publications to obtain a license and granting executive authorities the power to close down unlicensed sites threatens the freedom of expression online. The government on August 22, 2012, sent the draft amendments to the Press and Publications law to parliament for approval.

Jordanians protest Internet censorship law with SOPA-style blackout (August 2012)
The United States, Russia, and Malaysia have all recently protested proposed Internet censorship laws by having websites “go dark” to demonstrate what the web would look like without them. Today Jordanian netizens have launched their own Internet blackout. In addition to the blackout, thousands have signed a petition addressed to Jordanian MPs, and participants are tweeting using the hashtag #BlackOutJO.

Women CSO activists prepare for post-Arab Spring environment in MENA (July 2012)
A group of women activists from around the MENA region stressed the need to empower women economically to face any threats to their rights that might result from the Arab Spring revolutions. The call came during a one-day meeting of women activists, journalists, politicians and leaders in the women's rights movement from 11 countries in the region with US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer. Lawyer Fatimeh Dabbas said women in Jordan should continue to "press the government to ensure that the gains made by the women's movement over the past 20 years are safe and secured." During Verveer’s visit, she is scheduled to meet with government officials, political party representatives, business leaders and the media, to discuss specific steps to support Jordan's efforts to increase women's engagement in politics, the economy, and society at large. She will also discuss Jordan's participation in the G-8's Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, a forum bringing together governments and civil society representatives to discuss solving the pressing issues in the region.

For rising press freedoms, social networks are both the medium and the message (May 2012)
Since the events of the Arab Spring began, advocates of independent media have looked to social media and citizen journalism as a means of circumventing censorship in the region and promoting freedom of speech and the press. Last week, a group of 30 journalists from Jordan and Lebanon, press freedom activists and journalism students came together in a two-day training workshop organized by UNESCO, IREX and the Samir Kassir Foundation that aimed at calling attention to the importance of press freedom and the power of social media tools to achieve those freedoms. Organizers said they also had sought through the course to train the participants to use social networks such as Facebook to launch awareness and advocacy campaigns.

Jordan civil society at heart of Syrian refugee response (April 2012)
Community-based organizations have played large role in helping thousands of Syrian refugees pouring into neighboring Jordan. Until recently, the response had been fairly ad-hoc, or as one aid worker put it, “a mess”, with various players on the ground and many Syrians simultaneously registering and receiving assistance from various organizations. But these civil society organizations are increasingly trying to coordinate, and despite the relative chaos, they have shows signs of success in recent months. They are the first point of contact for many Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan.

News Archive

Jordanians Debate Role of Press (September 2011) 

Royal Committee for Constitutional Amendments submitted proposed amendments to the King (August 2011)  

Jordan protests: King Abdullah names Marouf Bakhit PM (February 2011)

Hundreds protest against prime minister in Jordan (February 2011)

Back to Top

The foregoing information was collected by ICNL LLC Middle East / North Africa Regional office in Amman, Jordan.