Jordan, Oman, Morocco, and Yemen suspend newspaper production, citing COVID-19 fears

March 25, 2020

Beginning on March 17, 2020, authorities in Jordan, Oman, Morocco, and Yemen issued decrees suspending newspaper printing and distribution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to news reports and government statements.

The suspensions cover both independent and state-owned media outlets, and were imposed to limit spreading the virus during the printing, delivery, and distribution of the papers, according to those reports.

On March 17, the Jordanian Council of Ministers, a body that includes the prime minister and other government ministers, suspended the publication of all newspapers in the country for two weeks to limit the spread the of the virus, according to an official statement by Jordanian Communications Minister Amjad Adaileh.

In a statement on March 22, the Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports, which oversees the country’s press, ordered all print newspapers to suspend their publication and distribution until further notice, and encouraged print outlets to use alternative methods to deliver the news.

Also on March 22, the Supreme Committee for Dealing with COVID-19 in Oman, a government body established to combat the spread of the virus in the sultanate, ordered all newspapers, magazines, and other publications to cease printing and circulating, according to the Times of Oman, which published the committee’s order. The order also prohibited the sale and circulation of newspapers, magazines, and publications imported into the country.

On March 23, Yemeni Communications Minister Muammar Al-Aryani issued a decree prohibiting the publication and circulation of print newspapers in the country from March 25 to April 12 to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, according to the official decree published in local newspaper Al-Jand Post.