The UNESCO Amman Office launched a three-year media project funded by the European Union (EU) on Wednesday 29 October 2014. The “Support to Media in Jordan” project is part of a broader EU initiative to support civil society and media and will be implemented by the UNESCO Amman office in close coordination with the main state and non- state media institutions in Jordan.
The project’s main objective is to support the Jordanian media sector as a platform for democratic dialogue and as a crucial instrument to transparency and accountability.
The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the media and has two phases, with the first one focusing on research and analysis of the contemporary media landscape. This will shape the structure and implementation of activities in the second phase. As an example, envisaged activities will seek to enhance the capacities of local broadcasters, support journalism education, further develop capacities in media literacy and establish an independent media complaints body with a code of honor.
H.E. Joanna Wronecka, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Jordan, stated during the event that, "Media plays a key role, not only in intercultural relations, but also in human, social and economic development", and that "it is the first time that the EU engages in a specific programme on medias of this magnitude, and in close cooperation with the Government of Jordan."
H.E. Dr. Salameh Neimat, Minister of State, stated during the event that, “European support for all development programs in Jordan contributes in pushing the reform process the government is trying to implement and supports Jordan’s efforts in implementing development projects in vital sectors, such as the media sector. In particular, this sector has undergone important developments due to the current implementation of the Jordan Media Strategy”. His Excellency continued, highlighting, “This comes as part of the government’s commitment to strengthen the role of media, and to emphasize the right to work freely and independently”.
Minister Neimat expressed his gratitude to UNESCO for the Agency’s continuous support and efforts in ensuring the success and achievement of development projects, not only in Jordan but globally.
Primary beneficiaries of the project are those working in the media sector, but the Jordanian society as a whole will also benefit, as it relies on the media as a major source of information.
A free, independent and professional media is a cornerstone in any democracy and the main defender of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. “In times of change as we are now living, it is especially important to provide citizens with the information they need to make informed decisions about their lives and societies”, said Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan, during the project launching event on Wednesday in Amman.
As the sole United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works globally to foster free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online. Under the same mandate, the organization implements projects to encourage media development, inspire freedom of expression and the press, ultimately contributing to enhancing democracy, peace building, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights.
The support of this project by the European Union is an important reaffirmation of the basic values, including media pluralism, freedom of expression and information that underpin EU's democratic vision. The present project will be a complement to a larger EU regional initiative, MedMedia, which enhances institutional frameworks for medias and culture, as well as civil society organizations as vectors of freedom of expression.