In the Arab world, Jordan is among the foremost countries with respect to the provision of institutional and legislative structures, good governance, and opposing corruption. Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index, ranked Jordan 66 out of 177, placing it amid the autocracies with the least corruption in the Arab World1. On 9 December 2003 Jordan signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which was then ratified on 24 February 2005. On 8 June 2004 the Parliament adopted the implementing legislation— Law No. 28 of 2004 —and it was subsequently published in the 1 August 2004 edition of the Official Gazette. The Law specifies that the Prime Minister and Ministers shall be responsible for the implementation of the Convention’s provisions and that it is considered valid and effective for all its intended aims2.
In relation to the institutional structure aimed at battling corruption, Jordan was amid the pioneering countries that established purpose-built agencies including the Jordan Securities Commission, the Audit Bureau, and the Anti-Corruption department in 2006. A short time later, King Abdullah II instructed the government to draft legislation aimed at fighting corruption and to establish an independent commission. As a result, the new Anti-Corruption Law was enacted in 2006 and the Jordan Anti-Corruption Commission (JACC) was formed, with its members appointed in 20073. A National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2008-20124, was developed by JACC to battle corruption and bring its perpetrators to justice.
Jordan currently lacks any specific whistleblowing legislation.
2. Present legal environment
Jordan has no direct whistleblowing law; instead the chief law pertaining to whistleblowing is the Anti-Corruption Commission Law 62/2006.
a. Public sector
According to Global Integrity 2011, no laws exist to secure the protection of whistleblowers5. Additionally, the Anti- Corruption Commission Law of 2006, stipulates that claims of corruption, which are proved false, may result in the punishment of the complainant.
The public sector internal reporting method of the Anti-Corruption Commission, however, offers a website and telephone service which can be used to report corruption.
b. Private sector
Employees who report incidents of graft, corruption, or abuse of power and/or resources are afforded no protective provisions in the law. Practically, private sector employees are only afforded the protection in so far as all information provided is kept confidential; however, for people submitting a claim of corruption, additional protective provisions are non-existent.
3. Additional legislative gaps
As previously mentioned, no provisions exist in Jordan to secure the protection of whistleblowers.
4. Case examples of whistleblowing
In Jordan whistleblowing is relatively unheard of. There are cases where public officials have been prosecuted for their knowledge of corruption or other illegal activities and failing to report them, but no publicly known incidents of whistleblower harassment exist.
5. Political, economic and cultural environment
A mostly inadequate ‘third sector’ is found in NGO’s and civil society. A lack of knowledge renders them unable to influence political decisions or the policy-making process.
6. Information environment
The Law on Securing Access to Information No. 47 of 2007 successfully passed the Jordanian Parliament. Although this legislation has been adopted, there remains limited progress with regard to access to information (ATI). The Jordanian public generally lack sufficient knowledge of the law, and the ambiguity, exceptions regime, and its context within with the broader legal framework, are all limitations on the Jordanian ATI law.
Article 68 of Civil Service By law of 20076 stipulates under threat of punishment:
“public officials are prohibited from keeping any official document or communication, or any copy thereof, or leaking it to any outside body or writing or speaking about it without an authorization to do so.”
Additionally, Jordan’s Prime Minister instructed government officials, by decree, to only release information to the media via the minister or the deputy minister7. Public employees’ unwillingness to provide information, due to fear of repercussions at the hands of superiors, is a problem about which many journalists have been vocal.
Maher Abu-Teyr is a political columnist for the daily Ad-Dustour newspaper who writes frequently about corruption in Jordan and is a useful source of information on the subject.
There is currently no legal regulation of whistleblowing in either the Jordanian public or private sectors. That all information submitted is kept confidential is the single protection provided within the public sector. Despite international recommendations and Jordan’s current process of implementation of some UNCAC provisions, whistleblowing or other kinds of internal reporting mechanisms in the public sector are scarcely contemplated.
Last modified: January 28 2014
6 In 1965, Civil Service Law of 1963 was repealed. The Cabinet adopted Civil Service Bylaw in accordance with Article 120 of the Constitution that provides that public departments and agencies are regulated by bylaws adopted by the Cabinet after they are approved by the King.