Cyber Stewards Network partner 7iber marked it’s eighth year anniversary since its founding on Jordan’s independence day by highlighting the poor state of press freedom and women’s rights in the country. Lina Ejeilat, one of 7iber’s co-founders, told Newsweek that showcasing such issues provides an “alternative narrative about what independence really means.”
“It’s more than just nationalistic slogans and putting a flag on your car. It’s really trying to push the envelope. There’s a need for professional journalism that is critical,” she added. Though Jordan is safer for journalists relative to many of its neighbours, print and online media outlets are still required to get a license from the government to publish. Ejeilat said that: “Licensing is a form of self-censorship,” given that it requires permission from the government. “That notion is so against everything that the Internet is about,” she said.
7iber was blocked by Jordanian media officials in 2013, and the organization continued to switch to mirror sites that were also taken down. The government eventually took 7iber to court for operating while unlicensed, and the case remains ongoing. Despite being opposed to the law, 7iber obtained a license in order to continue operating and publishing content.