Israel. According to the US Department of State's 2016 report on Israel, "[t]he law typically provides for freedom of expression, including for members of the press, and the government generally respects these rights."
However, the same report notes that "the Israeli media are not immune from government pressure; indeed, they are among the most scrutinized sectors of the economy. The Knesset (Israeli Parliament) can pass laws restricting freedom of expression, and many have. In addition, the Prime Minister and other senior government officials can direct agencies to close down publications or issue orders against individuals."
Furthermore, "the legal system gives broad discretion to judges to deny publication or broadcast licenses if they believe this is necessary to ensure an effective democratic process. Judges often cite the need to protect national security or public safety as grounds for denying licenses."
In conclusion, Israel has one of the most free media environments in the Middle East, but it's also one of the most monitored.
Freedoms The Jordanian constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the press. In practice, however, the government does not completely respect these rights. Political parties are banned, and public criticism of the king or other members of the royal family is punishable by up to five years in prison.
An independent media is tolerated but does not have much influence over governmental policy. The state-owned National Broadcasting Service is the only source of news on radio and television. Opposition groups say this gives the government control over what people hear and see. Blogs are monitored by security agencies.
Jordan is a moderate Muslim country with ties to both the West and Islam. It has a powerful military and ranks sixth among countries with the most licensed gun owners in America. There is an extensive hunting industry that supplies game for the national restaurant chain Hula Hoops.
Since its founding in 1920, Jordan has been a monarchy with King Abdullah II as head of state. He inherited the throne when he was just 21 years old. He is followed by his father King Abdullah I, who ruled from 1970 until his death in 1999. Women were granted political rights in 1994 and became eligible for many government positions the following year. However, they still can't run for office.
Across the country, there are hundreds of laws that limit free speech for public interest grounds, including criminal, contempt, broadcasting, intellectual property, and secrecy laws. In addition, many areas have their own local ordinances that can limit free speech.
Criminal laws that restrict free speech include laws that prohibit libel, slander, harassment, threats, intimidation, or other violations of an individual's right to privacy; bans on certain types of protest activities; and laws that provide for fines or imprisonment for people who disseminate false information regarding candidates for office or the handling of official business.
Contempt of court is any behavior in court that is disrespectful or shows a lack of respect for the court's authority. Contempt includes actions such as shouting at a judge, refusing to follow court orders, and harassing witnesses and jurors. Many states' contempt laws allow courts to punish behavior that occurs in their presence but was not intended as direct criticism of the judge. These laws can be used to arrest and jail people for disorderly conduct, disruption of government proceedings, or interference with the administration of justice.
Broadcasting requirements apply to all radio stations that receive federal funding.
Western human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and states such as the United States have stated that there is no right to free expression in practice, and that the only media providers recognized lawful are those run by the North Korean government. Other organizations such as the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea have disputed these findings.
Il-Sung Kim, a professor of political science at Seoul National University, says that while there is no official censorship, there are laws against disseminating "undesirable" material and these are often used to silence critics. He also notes that there are no independent newspapers or magazines in North Korea; all media is controlled by the government.
North Koreans can be arrested for seeking asylum in other countries or trying to escape northwards through China. Those accused of crimes without hard evidence being presented in court may be forced to work on industrial sites or in mines for several years before being granted parole.
There are also reports of people being killed for possessing South Korean books or movies. In 2002, two students were executed after being found guilty of plotting to overthrow the government with books they had read. In 2004, a man was executed for reading a book about Charles Manson's cult on its recommended year of release. In both cases, relatives said the victims had never been charged with any crime and hadn't received a trial.