Supporting Jordan’s Press

AMMAN (Petra) Â? His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday said the media was partly responsible for the misunderstanding between Jordan and Iraq.

…The King, meanwhile, said he directed the government to support the freedom of the press, guarantee reporters’ access to information and enact a legislation to prohibit jailing journalists on charges related to their job.

He underlined the need for government institutions to open up to the media, saying officials should enhance communication with journalists and grant them access to information.

Â?In order to upgrade the performance of media in the country and avoid errors, focus should be on professionalism and training of journalists,Â? the King said.

In a related development, Badran yesterday urged Jordanian and Iraqi journalists to help Â?remove impurities that might appear in bilateral ties.Â?…The Iraqi journalists also met with Al Rai and Al Ghad newspapers, dailies’ chief editors Abdul Wahhab Zgheilat and Ayman Safadi, respectively

…At Al Ghad, Safadi and the Iraqi journalists discussed the newspaper’s Â?inaccurateÂ? report on the Hilla terrorist attack. Safadi stressed that Â?publishing the report was a technical errorÂ? and did not represent the opinion of the paper, which denounced the attack Â?in line with its firm stand against terrorism and killing innocent people.Â? [more]

This is a good development in my opinion and I’m both surprised and content with the fact that the King has wasted no time in discussing the most critical issues of the media events a few weeks ago. This at least demonstrates a sign of progress in the media sector and what direction it will be heading in the future; or at the least quelling the uncertainties stemming from the Al-Ghad Fiasco in March. All in all, it sends a powerful message concerning media reform in Jordan as part of the emerging National Policy.

More importantly however is the critical issue of access to information. There is very little media-government interaction in the country, as a recent survey showed that “journalists are hampered from doing their jobs because they cannot obtain the information they want”. This is a major obstacle to reform that requires immediate attention and mending. If not for the benefit of the media but also for the benefit of the government and country as a whole. Journalists have a responsibility to report facts with a dose of clarity and the government has a duty to ensure that clarity exists and no misunderstandings result from the lack there of.

Both the media and the government need to work hand in hand to make certain the mistakes of last month are never repeated.

Posted In: Jordan

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