Amman, 18 October 2018 – Today the European Union, UNESCO Amman Office and over 130 partners, stakeholders, beneficiaries and representatives of the donor community celebrated the results and achievements of the four-year “Support to Media in Jordan” (STMJO) project in Amman.
The project has been implemented by UNESCO since 2014 with significant partnership and financial support from the European Union. Recently, the results of the project have been enhanced by funding from the Government of Canada through a project implemented by UNESCO Amman office and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT).
Held under the patronage of H.E. Jumana Ghneimat, Minister of State for Media Affairs, the event featured testimonials from partners and beneficiaries on the results achieved and their impact in the areas of media and information literacy (MIL), professional journalism, and support to local radios.
In a statement to UNESCO, H.E. thanked the European Union and the UNESCO Office for their great efforts to make the Support to Media in Jordan project a success, including supporting many initiatives with media and academic institutions over the past four years. H.E. stressed that the government is keen to continue the partnership with the EU and UNESCO through new programs and activities.
During the event, Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan, expressed gratitude to H.E. Jumana Ghneimat for her critical contribution to the media sector. Ms. Farina also recognised the European Union for the generous support provided in order to ensure the success of the project.
“Based on the shared belief that a free, independent media constitutes a cornerstone of democracy, UNESCO has been fortunate enough to enjoy an engaged partnership with the European Union throughout the course of this four-year project,” she said.
“The stories of the partners and beneficiaries today are a testament to the major investments made and we are pleased to share a sample of the significant results with you today,” Ms. Farina added.
The STMJO project built on a Media Strategy adopted by the Government of Jordan in 2011, and the Action Plan. The project focused on the media sector in Jordan as a platform for democratic dialogue and a crucial instrument to transparency and accountability in a democratic society.
Phase one of the project focused on developing a media study, a stakeholder driven review of implementation of the media strategy and detailing of action plan. A thorough analysis of the media landscape on the basis of UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDI) was produced. At the event, Mr. Toby Mendel, UNESCO consultant and lead researcher of the MDI study, gave a keynote address where he described the consultative process of the MDI study, as well as the work on the media legislation framework.
In Phase two, the project addressed the priority recommendations of the MDI study, focusing on suggested improvements of the legal framework, entry-level journalism education, systematic quality training for media professionals, MIL, strengthening community media, supporting the establishment of an independent self-regulatory mechanism and diversity and pluralism in the media. In addition, equipment was provided as part of a 1.5 million euro contribution to several universities and local radio stations, designed to increase the ability of beneficiaries to offer high quality media content that would reflect the local realities.
Mr. Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador, underlined the importance of supporting media actors as partners for inclusive development and democracy. He added that the EU continues to support national efforts to promote the constructive role of media in promoting community engagement and addressing the national priority initiatives, such as advancing political participation and preventing violent extremism by proposing alternative messages.
Mr. Fontana stated that one of the project achievements was reaching out to students so they can have better opportunities to become professionals, supporting community radios, and proposing reforms to the key laws regulating the media sector, including the access to information law.
While the Support to Media in Jordan project is concluding soon, UNESCO remains committed to advocating and promoting media freedom and professionalism in Jordan and will continue to build on the achievements of this project. In particular, with new support of the EU, UNESCO has started working on promoting media and information literacy in several governorates.