The Arab Times newspaper was founded by Osama
Fawzi in Houston, Texas and first published in print form in 1986.
In 1997, Arab Times launched an online site that complements its
print version of the newspaper at http://www.arabtimes.com.
The Arab Times focuses on political personalities and events in the
Middle East. The newspaper mainly concentrates on ruling elites,
their power struggles and antics in both the Arab world and the
Western world. In addition to political news in the Middle East, the
publication also covers issues and events that affect the Arabic
population in Europe and the United States.
Both the print and online versions of Arab Times are written mainly
in the Arabic language. However, the online version has a small
English language section.
1997, Osama Fawzi launched www.arabtimes.com (the “Arab
Times Website”), continuing with the website what he had started
with the print edition of Arab Times approximately ten years
earlier, but with a much larger audience and even wider
dissemination. Since 2007, the Arab Times Website has gone beyond
merely reporting the human rights abuses and violations of the
freedom of expression prevalent in the Middle East to providing a
service familiar to English-speakers in the west but scarcely
permitted by Middle Eastern governments: an Arabic-language
compatible, non-government, uncensored forum where readers may
maintain blogs expressing their opinions. It is this forum of free
expression that is now under attack.
prominent feature of the Arab Times Website is a web-portal “blog”
referred to as “Hyde Park” in which users may register and post
articles concerning political news and happenings in the Middle East
(or any other subject).
Because Mr. Fawzi
and the Arab Times Website focus on political happenings in the
Middle East, the articles on the Arab Times Website—including those
of its Hyde Park portal users—usually entail discussions and
criticisms of certain Middle Eastern governments, including Jordan
, Syria , Bahrain , Kuwait , Libya , Oman , Sudan , UAE ,
Yemen , and Saudi Arabia.
Although many applaud the efforts of Arab Times to shed light on
human rights abuses, the ruling families of The Arab Countries do
not. They censor the Arab Times Website from their
citizens—the Website cannot be accessed in those countries.
Most recently, on May 4, 2009, a Jordanian government official
questioned whether journalists who contributed to Arab Times should
be “prosecuted” simply because “they write many things, much of it
good, much of it bad.
Jordan’s condemnation of the Arab Times Website has not been limited
to censorship or public denunciation. Jordan has revoked Mr.
Fawzi’s citizenship and passport and has in the past prosecuted and
jailed a prominent female journalist and former Jordanian
parliamentarian, Toujan al-Faisal, who posted an article on the Arab
Times Website. Ms. Al-Faisal’s crime was questioning whether
the Jordanian government charged too much for car insurance
Because she mentioned car insurance on the Arab Times Website, Ms.
Al-Faisal was sentenced to jail for “tarnishing the Jordanian
state,” “defamation of the judiciary,” “uttering words” before
another deemed to be “detrimental to his religious feeling,”
“publishing and broadcasting false information abroad which could be
detrimental to the reputation of the state,” and inciting
“disturbances and killings