Legal Support to Media in Jordan

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 an initiative entitled “Legal Support to Media in Jordan” in September 2013. The long-term goal aims at creating a new generation of specialized media lawyers and at establishing 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, a specific training for young lawyers was organized to familiarize them with international standards, national laws and regulations in order to better represent their clients in court.

The second phase focused on a coaching period for the trained lawyers including actual court presence and deliberations on current cases involving media. In May 2014, UNESCO organized a specialized training seminar 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 seminar was 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 comparison with international standards.

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. 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.

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