September 29 2022 7:04 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The digital guillotine

Abdullah Habahbeh. (Photo: Jordan News)
Abdullah Habahbeh. (Photo: Jordan News)
In the modern world, we see the word “digital” added to many forms of business and so many aspects of our daily lives.

Digitization is seeping into everything, even our laws and punishments, bringing cybersecurity into existence. As a result of this, many have fallen victim of the “digital guillotine.”اضافة اعلان

This new form of digitized execution has influenced our freedom of speech and raised concerns over how we express our thoughts and opinions. Not only that; it has also beheaded our minds, so to speak, as has it silenced factually critical voices, particularly the ones calling for change.

This is the new reality for many of us. We cannot deny the need for regulations that can guarantee the rights of others; yet, unfortunately, the order plays an immense role in the systematization of the digital world. Hence, these newly-formed regulations have been misused for the benefit of those in power.

Recently, we have seen how the guillotine has been used both locally and internationally, to fall on the voice of freedom coming from those who dare speak their minds. We live in a truly scary world where one cannot express what is on their mind regarding certain topics, labeled “taboo”, and rendering one deprived of the freedom to debate.

In Jordan, the situation is not so different from other countries using the same approach to silence voices asking for change. Systematic chaos and disorder has been a crucial tool in the hands of those in power.

"Whereas the Jordanian constitution guarantees freedom of opinion and expression, Article 11 of the 'Cybercrime Law' is used as a legal justification for perverting the constitutional right to freedom of opinion and expression," Issa Mahasneh of the Jordanian Open Source Association, said during an interview for Smex.org in 2021.

This quote clearly showcases the state of affairs in Jordan. It could also lead you to ask yourself why people are persecuted for using the very rights stipulated in the constitution. These imported ideologies have been rooted in the system as a result of imperial colonialism.

It is not clear why this approach is being implemented, yet this does not negate the urge to execute such unjustified deeds. Journalists were at first the sole victims of such abuse and harassment, however, others have been added to the list of victims since.

Criticism is not a threat; it is a tool to inform others of different points of view, allowing us to engage and enhance our system. As a nation, we must learn to empower our youth to speak up and express their views, and should not use fear as a tool to subjugate the masses.

Moreover, as Arabs, we are the victims of our governments, laws, and international double standards under the pretext of spreading and implementing human rights in the Arab world. For example, during the recent war crimes in the Gaza Strip and Sheik Jarrah, we saw how Arabs were denied the simple right to express their views by social media tycoons and western governments.

Nonetheless, this only proves what we are, on daily basis, dealing with censorship, silencing, and persecution. The digital world is an open space and was formed for people to stand, declare, and state their thoughts and opinions. So, if this right is to be taken away from us, what is left? Where and how else can anyone speak up?

This is a call for everyone to take a stand and demands our rights. We cannot live in a world trying to stifle us; we shall speak, we shall never be silenced as we are a part of the system and a part of this world.

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