Young Jordanian journalist soars to new heights

09/07/2019
Amman, Jordan

Path to success

Sara Momani, 25, likes to feel like she is taking Jordan’s pulse when she is broadcasting live on Radio Annaja7. She works as an investigative journalist and never hesitates to tackle sensitive issues, including online harassment and the experiences of survivors of human rights violations.

Sara participated in a workshop series focused on professional reporting, offered by the UNESCO Amman office and Journalists for Human Rights (JHR). The sessions were extended to staff and volunteers from Radio Annaja7, and highlighted best practices for responsible journalism practices. The training has been a key component of the joint UNESCO-UNOCT “Youth Peacebuilding” Project, co-funded by Canada.

As a strong advocate for gender equality, Sara was drawn to the training and curious about how women fit into the human rights agenda. “This was my favorite part of the training”, she shared. “The trainers really reinforced to participants that women and men need to be treated equally and fairly, both in media and everyday life, and how we can ensure this”.

Prior to the workshop, Sara was a volunteer at Radio Annaja7 and following the workshop, with her enhanced skills, Sara was hired as radio staff and now splits her time between Annaja7’s stations in Irbid and Amman. Sara’s weekly show is called "نبض" (“Pulse” in English) and has been airing as a 12 episode series.

Sara has been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction to her reporting on sensitive issues. “When I was covering survivors of human rights violations, people were thrilled that I had brought this to light and that these topics were being discussed in public. Seasoned journalists have provided feedback saying that this was innovative broadcasting”.

I seek to make people aware of social concerns and then explore what their rights are, on air. Within the Jordanian context, this is important as people are often unaware of their rights, especially in complex social cases. Our rights are sometimes deliberately disregarded, especially women’s.

Family support has also been important for Sara. “I am the second youngest of seven children. At first, my mom was worried about me because I travel far from my home town of Ajloun to do my work. My Dad convinced her to let me try and after they saw my talent, they started to feel proud of me”.

UNESCO believes that free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online are needed in order to ensure the free flow of ideas, optimize progress and build knowledge societies. Sara’s next venture is strongly aligned; beginning in a few weeks’ time, she will start to tell the stories of people who have been detained as a result of restrictions to their freedom of expression.