…flow my tears, the policeman said…
A study released on Thursday revealed that though many Jordanians support media freedoms, a majority support government restrictions when it comes to destabilising issues.
In the study, performed by WorldPublicOpinion.org and supported and coordinated by the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, 78 per cent of respondents agreed that the mediaâ€™s freedom to publish news and ideas is important.
However, some 66 per cent of Jordanians favoured the government placing tighter restrictions on material which is viewed as politically destabilising.
Jordan was among three countries in the study where a majority of respondents approved greater government control over media issues deemed destabilising: the Palestinian territories (59 per cent) and Indonesia (56 per cent).
…Strikingly, 63 per cent of Jordanian respondents said the government should have the right to prevent access to certain items on the Internet, joining Iran as the only two nations where a majority shared this view.
Only 26 per cent of Jordanians believed that citizens should be able to read any content on the Internet without restrictions. [source]
If you ever take a political leadership course or even if you’ve ever read anything on constitutional powers, you’ll always run across the term “emergency powers”. Essentially it runs along the lines of somewhat philosophical questions that grapple with the nature of the state and what happens to a constitutional framework built on checks and balances and the ideal that no man is above the law, when an emergency scenario arises and “special” emergency powers are transfered to the executive or the leader. A situation arises where that person is granted the power and authority to do as they please in the name of “security” and in the name of “stability”. Once those elements are restored, the state of emergency is undeclared and things go back to normal. But then again, it’s the guy with all the power that gets to declare and undeclare; he’s the one in control of the on/off switch.
Yet, despite the ambiguity, history has shown, that in a fog of uncertainty the people will always acquiesce, and that’s how quickly power and authority can be transfered to the state sometimes, in even the most democratic of states: in a heart beat.
Now Jordan is far (far, far, far) from being a democracy, yet (and boy do I emphasize the word “yet“), the above scenario is very similar when it comes to someone uttering the term “politically destabilizing”, especially, especially, especially, when it is preceded with the word “deemed”.
What is “politically destabilizing”?
Who decides what is “politically destabilizing”?
Or 63% of Jordanian respondents in a poll?
So sometimes, upon reading such information, I think to myself, all things being equal, is fighting for media freedom, political freedom or just any type of freedom and justice in Jordan really worth it when the majority are content?
The will of the people.