28 February 2007
Press Freedom:
2006 Mixed Year for Freedom of Speech in Jordan

images_1.jpegA growing number of training programmes in the past year have encouraged Jordanian journalists to be more outspoken, even though the media are still facing a number of problems. “The year 2006 witnessed several assaults on journalists, prosecutions, pressures and censorship,” states the annual report on Jordanian Media issued by the Arab Archives Institute in Amman. On a positive note, however, the report noticed obvious progress in the media field, with the launch of new publications such as the weekly Fact International and the establishment of new broadcast stations. Moreover, a growing number of training programmes run by various donors and institutions such as the International Research and Exchanges Board are encouraging journalists to be more outspoken than ever. The programmes have also incited Jordanian journalists to start carrying out investigative journalism, a rarity in the Arab world. The report notably mentions the former Jordan Times editor-in-chief Rami G. Khouri, who was awarded the 2006 Pax Christi International Peace Prize for his efforts to promote justice and reconciliation in the Middle East and around the world.

A topic of concern in Jordan is the Press and Publications Law, which if promulgated as it is will not include a provision that protects journalists against prison sentences.

The Arab Archives Institute is a research center specialized in research and documentation and aims at collecting and carrying out studies and research on freedom of expression, human rights and media freedoms in the Arab countries.

The Institute holds seminars/ conferences to achieve its objectives of promoting media freedoms, transparency and human rights/women rights.

By establishing an archives system that hosts basic data, information, and analysis on controversial issues in Arab societies, the Institute intends to gather material regarding the development of civil society institutions, democratic practices and human rights through research, studies, conferences and media campaigns.

To achieve these objectives, the Institute aims at:

* Establishing an archives center that collects all material related to media freedoms, civil society institutions, human rights and democracy that exist in the Arab countries or in universities and bookshops around the world.

* Developing a computerised information system that can help and assist researchers and analysts who work in this domain.

* Holding seminars, workshops and conferences whose objective is to promote public awareness of media freedoms, human rights and developing democracy.

* Cooperating and collaborating with local and international NGOs who share the interest of freedom of expression and human rights development and progress of Arab thought in studies and research.

* Cooperating with the different media means locally and internationally in producing TV programmes and publishing material whose objective is to promote public awareness of the issues at stake.

* Documenting recent and old publications that are of concern to the development of Arab thought.

Arab Archives Institute
Address: PO Box: 815454 Amman, Jordan
Telephone: +962-6-5534928
Fax: +962-6-5527592
Email: saeda@nol.com.jo, aainstitute@gmail.com