Launch of the Media Development Indicators study for Jordan

More than 100 people from the media sector, the international community, the government and civil society came together on 8 September to launch UNESCO’s Report on Media Development in Jordan, based on the UNESCO/IPDC Media Development Indicators.

Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, presenting the report. © UNESCO

"It is one of our best studies, if not the best," said Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, during the event that took place at ‘Shams’ in old Amman.

"We are pleased to present it to Jordanian stakeholders as a contribution to further develop the media as a key vehicle towards becoming a knowledge society."

Minister of State for Media Affairs, Dr Mohammad al Momani, at the launch. © UNESCO

Earlier the same day Guy Berger met with the Minister of State for Media Affairs, Dr Mohammad al Momani, to discuss the MDI report’s findings and the media landscape in Jordan.

“A free media is a key factor in the nation’s strength and security” was the Minister’s message when he spoke during the launching event later in the day.

“We work closely with all stakeholders to find the best policies that will help Jordan enjoy independent, professional and free media”, the Minister told the meeting. When a banner with the message “Media Freedom is everyone’s freedom” fell next to the stage in a heavy wind, he joked that the fall did not reflect the media situation in the country.

Next to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Palestine, Jordan is the fifth Arab country for which an MDI assessment is published. Produced in seven months, the Jordanian MDI was quicker than many of its companion studies which have taken over a year to finalize. Between January and June 2015, a team of four national and one international researchers undertook the research, consisting of a thorough literature review, innovative focus group discussions throughout the Kingdom’s governorates and interviews with key individuals.

Newspaper distribution in Amman. © UNESCO

The result is a 240-pages factual study, and is the most comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the contemporary Jordanian media sector currently available.

The assessment offers a series of recommendations aimed at supporting policy makers and media development actors to address gaps on the way to a free, independent and professional media environment – the core objectives of the “Support to Media in Jordan” project under which the study was produced. The MDI was an integral part of the first phase of the three-year project funded by the EU. The assessment also suggests inputs to the ongoing review of the national media strategy action plan, and will be the basis for the design of Phase II project activities that will start end 2015.

A cameraman filming a cultural event in downtown Amman. © UNESCO

Among others, recommendations include the importance of a comprehensive review of laws that limit freedom of expression and the media, and more impetus for self-regulation in the country.

“We are hopeful that the recommendations will be taken seriously and pave our transition from discussions to action on the ground in reforming media in Jordan” said Dina Baslan, one of the researchers.

After the speeches, guests were invited for a reception while enjoying the atmosphere of the venue and the view on the Old Citadel of Amman.

The UNESCO/IPDC Media Development Indicators were developed in 2008 and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Since their endorsement, they have become one of IPDC’s flagship initiatives and have been applied in 15 countries, while assessments are underway in many more.  

The MDI assessment for Jordan is also available for download on the project webpage and the UNESCO Amman homepage.

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