Newsletter No 9 06 December 2005
News from the Media Scene:
Lack of Local Political News in Jordanian Newspapers

According to a survey undertaken by the Jordanian Higher Media Council (HMC), national newspapers give more coverage to regional and international politics than they do to local issues.

The seven newspapers studied were Al Anbat, Al Arab Al Youm, Al Diyar, Al Dustour, Al Ghad, The Jordan Times and Al Rai. According to the research, only one of them gave more space to local political news than international. In that newspaper, local news averaged 44 per cent of the total content.

Although the study does not give a reason, it is widely thought that self-censorship is one the bases for the lack of local political coverage.

The study, released on 23 November, was conducted between 15 June and 15 September and examined 87 editions. It focused on the subjects published, the sources of information and the distribution of advertising. It revealed that although local politics are poorly covered, economic affairs have a more prominent place in the dailies, reaching 58 per cent of the space.

The survey showed that one of the newspapers obtained 50 per cent of the advertisements placed in the Jordanian daily press. Publishers in the country have complained several times about the unequal partition of advertising, with those newspapers closer to the government getting the most benefit from ad spend.

Concerning the sources, the survey says that newspapers rely on reporters for local political coverage for just 10 per cent of the copy. Newspapers rely on the state press agency, Petra, when covering social issues more than political.

According to the study, the agency is itself more focused to social news (46%) than political (34%) or economic (16%).