Mafraq, 8 October 2018 – Today the European Union (EU), UNESCO Amman Office and Al al Bayt University inaugurated the new radio station at Al al Bayt University in Mafraq. Under the “Support to Media in Jordan” project, the EU has provided the equipment as part of a 1.5 million euro contribution to several universities and local radio stations, designed to improve the ability of beneficiaries to provide high quality media content.
The event at Al al Bayt brought together university faculty, students and radio volunteers for an official ceremony launching the new radio station. The equipment provided to Al al Bayt includes a brand new studio – everything needed to run a radio station including microphones, a digital mixer, a transmitter, furniture, and more. The contribution has allowed the university to open their first radio station, which will cover not only the University but also the community of greater Mafraq area.
In addition to the high tech equipment, UNESCO and the EU have offered Al al Bayt radio staff and volunteers an extensive training program designed to support the production of good quality radio programs. Under this initiative, several radio experts and consultants worked with the university’s faculty, staff and students focused on the basics of setting up a radio station, institutional issues such as how to form an advisory board, ensure editorial independence, and manage the station, as well as technical skills such as radio production and editing.
At the event, guests were given a tour of the new radio station, and students who received training were awarded training certificates. “Thanks to the continuous efforts by the EU, UNESCO and Al Bayt University, we were able to launch the new radio station ‘Sawt Al Jami’aa’. The station launched its pilot service last Ramadan, and has seen significant progress ever since, in terms of staff, volunteers as well as the quality of its programs,” said Dr. Reem Zoubi, radio manager.
“We are very pleased to witness this progress, which has been made in virtually no time. Given that Al Bayt University does not have a media department, we are exceptionally proud of this new addition,” she added.
UNESCO Associate Project Officer, Ms. Hanadi Gharaibeh, participated in a live interview on the new station (103.5 FM in Mafraq). In the segment, Ms. Gharaibeh discussed the significance of the new station for freedom of expression. She also highlighted the commitment of UNESCO and the EU in supporting the establishment of this radio station over the last two years. “It has been a pleasure to work together to see this new radio station come to life, and we are sincerely grateful to the EU for the support and partnership and to Al al Bayt for the hard work and dedication in getting this new station up and running.”
The European Delegation reiterated its continuous support to the media sector in Jordan and valued support to media as a key development and advocacy actor. The EU supports media in Jordan in different spheres and recognizes the role media plays in promoting democratic debate, strengthening inclusive development and diversity and enhancing community engagement.
Since 2014, the STMJ project has worked to support Jordan’s efforts in advancing Jordanian media to further increase its freedom, independence and professionalism. The EU has generously funded these efforts, and has played an active role in collaborating with UNESCO to strengthen an enabling regulatory and institutional environment and enhance the capacity for an independent, quality based media sector in Jordan serving the entire population. The EU and UNESCO share similar values and believe that a free, independent and professional media environment is fundamental to the process of democracy and sustainable development.