As part of the project “Legal Support to Media in Jordan“, UNESCO Amman Office held a 3-day training camp for Law Students on Media Law
As the sole United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works to foster free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online. Under the same mandate, the organization implements projects to foster media development, enhance freedom of expression and the press, ultimately contributing to enhancing democracy, peace building, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights.
Worldwide, UNESCO promotes policies for press freedom and the safety of journalists, and supports independent journalism based on professional ethics and self-regulatory principles. Based on this mandate, UNESCO implements through its numerous field offices different projects targeting various groups depending on the needs and priorities of each country/region.
In Jordan, the UNESCO office in Amman works towards accomplishing the organization’s mandate in line with particular priorities related to the country’s needs and media environment, especially within the regulatory framework.
In the context of recent developments within the media sector in Jordan, especially in the aftermath of the amendment to the Press and Publication Law in 2012, UNESCO identified the need for legal support to media professionals as part of an overall development plan. Under one of the main lines of action of the Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO - Promoting Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Press Freedom in Jordan - and with the support of a regional project funded by the government of Sweden, UNESCO Amman has launched a project entitled “Legal Support to Media in Jordan” in September 2013. The long-term goal of this multi-phase project, aims at creating a new generation of specialized media lawyers and establish a network of lawyers specialized in defending journalists, bloggers and other media professional, in addition to citizen journalists and activists.
During the first phase of the project, UNESCO Amman Office organized a specific training for young lawyers to familiarize them with international standards and national laws and regulations in order to better represent their clients in court. Moreover, an Action Plan for best solutions and recommended actions to be taken in regards to freedom of expression in Jordan, with emphasis on Internet freedom and news websites was developed.
The second phase of the project resumed in the first quarter of 2014 with a coaching period for the trained lawyers including actual court presence and deliberations on current cases involving media. From 26-29 May 2014, UNESCO organized a specialized training camp for law students from 5 national universities, on media laws in Jordan. The training included sessions on international conventions, national regulations and laws, international standards, and mock court settings.
The training aimed at getting 4th year law students and recent law graduates acquainted with media laws and the regulatory context in Jordan, with particular attention to online media laws, in Jordan in comparison with international standards. Additionally, recommendations have been compiled to feed into the design of the future network.
As a next step, an online platform will be created to serve as the sole comprehensive source for media laws and regulations in Jordan. The portal will provide all information needed for journalists, lawyers, and various media stakeholders to better understand the legal context related to media and freedom of expression in Jordan. The website will be updated and managed by the network created throughout the project.
Future phases in the project include a Training of Trainers workshop (TOT) that will extend into a peer education initiative at local universities. Other stages will be announced at a later stage involving judges and media professors at Jordanian universities.
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