Enhancing Professional and Accurate Media Reporting on the Electoral Process in Jordan
As part of the overall political reform in Jordan in 2011, partly induced by the Arab Spring uprising in the region, the government established an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in preparation for the 2013 Parliamentary and Municipal elections and in response to the public’s reservations in the political system.
Party to key international frameworks relating to freedom of expression, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and home to a diverse media environment, Jordan remains at a standstill when it comes to media legislation, regulations and practice, as assessed by UNESCO Media Development Indicators and the Reporters Without Borders’ 2012 World Press Freedom Index. Further, with internet use increasing in the country against outdated media curricula, Jordan finds itself limited in its capacities to promote a quality education in journalism and an enabling environment for the upholding of freedom of expression, specifically in the area of electoral reporting.
In response to these challenges and a request for support by the Jordanian government and media stakeholders, UNESCO’ Amman Office (EN / AR) has partnered with the European Union Delegation in Jordan to develop the country’s media capacities (print, online and with media professionals), foster high-quality democratic governance by promoting an objective and impartial electoral reporting, and thus restore the public’s confidence and participation in the political process. In fact, supporting and promoting a free, professional and independent media environment is significantly conducive to a healthy functioning democracy.
As a follow up to UNESCO’s “Policy Advice to Government of Jordan” drafted in 2011, this project aims to (1) develop Jordanian media’s understanding of its essential function in the electoral process, (2) build capacity by providing training for media professionals on investigative and gender-sensitive reporting and (3) support 15 pilot media institutions in the implementation of a framework to improve the quality of electoral reporting, in order to achieve a long-term impact in the country and perhaps in the region.
Training workshops and forums promoting the exchange of experiences, along with intensive consultations with the media community on the ground, stand at the core of the project implementation and inform the challenges faced by journalist during election coverage. The latter will serve as a Road Map in the design of strategies to elevate professional international standards of reporting.
The project is supported locally through three partners, the Jordan Media Institute, Community Media Network and Arab Journalists for Investigative Journalism and one international partner lending technical capacity development expertise, Albany Associates.
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