Jordan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

It is difficult to talk about pluralistic media in Jordan. In Jordan, there is an official television station, an official radio station, armed forces radio and public security radio. And there are a variety of FM youth radio programs. Also, there are satellite channels for a variety of music and entertainment programs, and six daily newspapers: Ar-rai (an official newspaper with government funding), Ad-dustoor (a semi-official newspaper, since the government owns a considerable proportion of its capital shares), the private Al Arab Al Yawm, the private El-Ghad, the private Nabataeans, and As-sabeel by the Muslim Brotherhood. With this newspaper, As-sabeel, Jordan is the first government that granted the mentioned brotherhood the right to issue a daily newspaper. There are weekly newspapers, and some party newspapers and pamphlets. In addition to the various formal and informal journals which deal with cultural and social affairs. The Ministry of Culture issues three magazines: Afkar for culture, Funoon for the visual arts, and Wissam for children. Amman Municipality also publishes three magazines: Amman for culture, Taiki for feminist thought, and buds of Amman for children.

It is difficult to talk about opposition press, or bold media, even in the case of private newspapers. The year 2008 witnessed a lot of journalists referred to courts because of articles criticising the House of Representatives. An ETV channel has also been banned even before starting its programs. It was supposed to be a bold news channel with a social nature, different from the rest of the official media of Jordan.

Media freedom, and a culture of dialogue and democracy are widely promoted in Jordan, but the reality suggests that there are significant gaps in the role played by the media and the Jordanian culture of democracy and dialogue. This is due to several reasons, including slogans and ideas put forward without the creation of practical mechanisms to implement them and turn them into reality, and the media practice of self-censorship, government intervention in its operations, the exclusion of a democratic culture and a culture of dialogue as it is a hotbed of interest, and the lack of official transparency.

In a poll conducted by the Intelligentsia Centre for Research and Studies, they surveyed the views of participants at the expanded public information meeting held by the Ministry of Political Development in 2008 under the title “Together in the Face of Challenges - Partners in Development” with the participation of representatives from the print, audio-visual and electronic media, both formal and informal sectors.

In the survey, 43% of the sample said that the government officials' dealing with the media do not demonstrate their application of the principles of democracy, whereas 9% found did find them democratic.

73% of the sample considered that the limit granted for the dissemination of information around the culture of democracy in Jordan was not enough, while only 9% saw this limitation as enough.

With regard to the level of transparency in the statements of government officials, 84% considered that this transparency does not exist, while only 5% agreed on the existence of such transparency.

Also, the answer to the question as to whether the aim of official media is to act as government media more than as a form of national media, 73% saw it as a form of government media, compared with 6 % who answered "No".

Regarding bureaucracy and the media, 57% of respondents said that they find administrative obstacles in spreading a culture of democracy, compared to 7% who did not agree with that. And it was noticeable that 91% said that the media used to deliver information to citizens and others needed to be developed, whereas 2% did not agree to that. 64% of the sample believed that democratic culture is not a priority for the Jordanian media, by contrast 13% thought otherwise. 

Chapter published: 04-05-2016