Jordan/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.1 Constitution

The legislation for culture is insufficiently outlined. Starting with the National Charter, culture is mentioned within the framework of an Arab and Islamic identity, and the Arabic language is also mentioned as an integral part of defining culture. At the same time, the definition of culture is not outlined clearly, and tends to sway between Arab and Islamic cultures on the one hand, and Jordanian on the other, with a focus on nationalism to the Hashemite Kingdom. The Laws that govern culture are within the frame of work of the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Youth, the Army, and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

5.1.1 Constitution
The 1991 National Charter drafts guidelines for the conduct of the activities of political parties in Jordan. Within the National Charter a chapter is dedicated to culture, and in 8 points it outlines that the Arabic language is the framework through which cultural identity is defined, with local folklore as the fabric of national culture. It also denotes that cultural heritage as well as the attainments of all artists and thinkers should be preserved through documentation and disseminated throughout the whole country through databases, libraries, theatres, exhibitions.

Finally, the charter mentions the importance for artists to enrich themselves in all possible means, but “without detriment to Arab and Islamic values”, all the while stating the need to adhere to copyright laws through legislation, which it acknowledged is in need of up-dating.

As for the Constitution, there is no mention of culture, heritage, cultural rights, creativity or copyrights. Only freedom of expression, education and language are mentioned in the following articles:

Article 6
(i) Jordanians shall be equal before the law. There shall be no discrimination between them as regards to their rights and duties on grounds of race, language or religion.

(ii) The Government shall ensure work and education within the limits of its possibilities, and it shall ensure a state of tranquillity and equal opportunity to all Jordanians.

Article 19

Congregations shall have the right to establish and maintain their own schools for the education of their own members provided that they comply with the general provisions of the law and be subject to the control of Government in matters relating to their curricula and orientation.                        

Article 20
Elementary education shall be compulsory for Jordanians and free of charge[2] in Government schools.

The word creativity is mentioned several times in the framework of education, leadership, critical thinking and distinction in the reformed Agenda of June 2004. Patronage for creativity and leadership qualities are endorsed through the King Abdullah II prize for leadership and development, as well as The King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) established in 2001 by a royal decree as a non-governmental organisation with a programs in Human Development funds for education and capacity building, support of entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as programs for the support and dissemination of heritage and cultural preservation initiatives. Additionally, and in the field of school education, the Queen Rania Al Abdullah also offers prizes for distinguished performance for teachers and students, with a focus on development of students’ talents. Both these organisations have strong presence all over the country, and are a good example of how royal patronage of organisations working in various fields, including culture, have a strong presence all over the country, and not only in specific cities.

Chapter published: 04-05-2016