UNESCO Amman Office holds a 3-day training for Future Judges on Media Law

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© UNESCO

As the sole United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO worldwide promotes policies for press freedom and the safety of journalists, and supports independent journalism based on professional ethics and self-regulatory principles.
In Jordan, the UNESCO office in Amman works towards accomplishing the organization’s mandate in line with specific priorities related to the country’s media environment, with special attention to the regulatory framework.
In the context of recent developments within the media sector in Jordan, the need for legal support to media professionals was identified as part of an overall development plan. Aligned with the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector strategic priorities and with the support of a regional project funded by the Government of Sweden, UNESCO Amman in September 2013 launched a project entitled “Legal Support to Media in Jordan”. The long-term goal of this multi-phase project is to support a new...

As the sole United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO worldwide promotes policies for press freedom and the safety of journalists, and supports independent journalism based on professional ethics and self-regulatory principles.

In Jordan, the UNESCO office in Amman works towards accomplishing the organization’s mandate in line with specific priorities related to the country’s media environment, with special attention to the regulatory framework.

In the context of recent developments within the media sector in Jordan, the need for legal support to media professionals was identified as part of an overall development plan. Aligned with the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector strategic priorities and with the support of a regional project funded by the Government of Sweden, UNESCO Amman in September 2013 launched a project entitled “Legal Support to Media in Jordan”. The long-term goal of this multi-phase project is to support a new generation of specialized media lawyers and to establish a network of lawyers specialized in media legal matters that are of concern to journalists, bloggers and other media professional, in addition to citizen journalists and activists.

During the first phase of the project in 2013, a specific training for young lawyers was organized to familiarize the lawyers with international standards and national laws and regulations in order to better represent their clients in court. Moreover, an Action Plan for best solutions and recommended actions to be taken in regards to freedom of expression in Jordan, with emphasis on Internet freedom and news websites was developed.

During the second phase of the project in the first quarter of 2014, a coaching period for the trained lawyers took place including actual court presence and deliberations on current cases involving media. In May 2014 a specialized training workshop for law students from five national universities was organized on media laws in Jordan.

As an integral part of phase two, 15 judges, who are enrolled in the “Future Judges Program”, have been trained during 27-29 November on media laws. The training included sessions on international conventions, national regulations and laws, international standards, and mock court settings.

The formative sessions aimed at better acquainting future judges with media laws and the regulatory context in Jordan, with particular attention to online media laws, in comparison with international standards. Additionally, recommendations have been compiled to feed into the design of the future network of specialized lawyers.

In addition to the training cycle, an online platform is currently being created to serve as the sole comprehensive source for media laws and regulations in Jordan. The portal will provide detailed information needed for journalists, lawyers, and various media stakeholders to better understand the legal context related to media and freedom of expression in Jordan. The website will be updated and managed by the network created throughout the project.

Future phases in the project will include a workshop on creating synergies between the trained groups and a Training of Trainers workshop (TOT) that will extend into a peer education initiative at local universities.