HE Minister Momani attends closing event of UNESCO’s capacity building for local radios project component

10 July 2017

Amman, Jordan, 10 July 2017 – H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al Momani, Minister of State for Media Affairs, attended the closing event for the Capacity Building for Local Radios component of the EU funded “Support to Media in Jordan” project. The year-long project was implemented by Jordan Media Institute (JMI) and brought together 146 volunteers and staff members working in seven local and community radios representing various governorates in the Kingdom.

The participating local radios were: Yarmouk FM, Jordan University Radio, Liqaa FM in Zarqa, Sawt Al Karak broadcasting from Mu’tah unviersity, Al-Tafileh Technical University Radio, Sawt al Janoub broadcasting from Al-Husayn Bin Talal University, and Sawt Al-Aqaba operated by ASEZA.

Dr. Al Momani said that this ceremony culminates fruitful efforts exerted over many months to enhance the capacity of practitioners at local radios as they uphold an important developmental role especially in the governorates, providing platforms for dialogue among the community in the challenges they face.

He also hailed the training program as an enormous opportunity for the local radios to offer innovative radio production. He noted that this comes at a time when media in Jordan, local and community radios included, is going through a phase of sorting the quality from the quantity. The public has come to recognize the various radios on the basis of their quality output that addresses the concerns and aspirations of their local communities.

Ms Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan added that, “Media plays a vital role in this process, striving to put into action Goal 16 of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” calling for an enabling environment that ensures public access to information and fundamental freedoms.”

“In taking this forward, UNESCO work aims to foster opportunities for local communities to express themselves in the media, and have access to media that is relevant to their day-to-day lives. The role of local radios is pivotal in ensuring the engagement of local communities and in providing a platform for democratic dialogue.”

In his speech, Dr. Basim Tweisi, JMI dean, reviewed the objectives achieved in the training program by developing the capacity of practictioners. He noted that the radios have assumed their position in terms of diversity of specialty, and in terms of expanding outside of Amman and the governorates. This, he said, has provided many local communities with more opportunities to listen and participate in the diversified radio programs.

He also explained that over the course of one year, 13 training courses were offered in various areas pertinent to the development of radio content. These courses included, inter alia: radio packages, documentaries, talk shows, sound and broadcast, social media, and volunteer management.

Dr. Tweissi emphasized the need to develop the professionalism of the radios and build the capacity of their practitioners in order to widen the platforms of expression, represent all segments of the society, come closer to the community’s priorities on development and participation, and expand public debate on national policies and affairs.

On behalf of the participants, both Lu’ay Ahmad of the University of Jordan Radio and Mai Qatamin of the Sawt Al Aqaba Radio spoke on how the training program highlighted new concepts of media and radio work, along with the innovative and creative techniques in presenting and producing programs. They also stressed the need to encourage cooperation among the radios in order to elevate their professional and ethical standards, and to establish the principles of social responsibility.

The training program began by assessing the capacity of the volunteers and staff working at the targeted radios, and by evaluating radio content. This initial analysis formed the basis for a comprehensive training program.

The radios also received support in the area of self-regulation by developing updated editorial policies that respond to the values of professionalism and independence and expand community dialogue. In the final analysis, each radio developed its own editorial policy for news, gender and youth.

A basic framework was put forward to establish a collective organization by means of setting up an association for local and community radios designed to encourage networking and exchange of expertise.