The “Taghyeer” Reforming Media Program aims at protecting and strengthening media freedom in Jordan through ensuring that international human rights standards are upheld and by advocating for reform of state policies and legal frameworks covering the media. Advocating for reform includes documenting violations of press freedom, protecting the individual’s right to information and ensuring government accountability.
Despite positive developments over the past two decades, the media in Jordan still suffers from censorship embodied in restrictive laws and policies. Moreover, due to the insecurity of the individual’s right to information the media is unable to perform its social function in ensuring government accountability.
In August of 2014 the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists launched the “Taghyeer” program by conducting the first ever study of the state of media freedom in Jordan. The study began with the legislature governing the Jordanian media and went to on to cover topics ranging from the media’s coverage of gender issues to government institutions’ support of people with special needs.
The preliminary study was completed in January of 2015 and since that time CDFJ has invested this knowledge in advocating for reform. Most recently CDFJ published the first Guide to Implementing the Right to Access Information in Public Institutions in Jordan.
Focuses of the Taghyeer Program:
Advocating for legislative reform:
Through its preliminary study of the state of media freedoms in Jordan, CDFJ found that the Jordanian legal system approaches media cases in a manner that restricts press freedom. Moreover, several vague clauses in Jordanian media law restrict journalistic activity in practice.
In response to these issues the Taghyeer program lobbies the Jordanian Media Commission and the National Planning Committee to amend repressive laws. Furthermore, Taghyeer works with relevant parties to develop alternative legislation which is then presented to parliament.
Strengthening transparency and the individual’s right to information:
Taghyeer has taken many steps to advocate for and improve transparency in public institutions including training ministry staff on the implementation of the Right to Information Law and the recent publishing of a print guide containing content from this training.
CDFJ has also worked with the King Abdullah II Center for Excellence to integrate freedom of information indicators into the standards for the King Abdullah II Award for Excellence in Government Service and Transparency.
Advocating for the implementation of recommendations found in the United Nations Human Rights Council Comprehensive Periodic Review:
More than a year has passed since the UN Human Rights Council issued its recommendations related to the media in Jordan. Unfortunately, the progress on implementing these recommendations has thus far been quite modest. CDFJ encourages the government to establish an index including indicators for each recommendation contained the the Human Rights Council’s report.
This “Advancing Independent Media Role through Reform of Law, Policy and Practices” project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through a grant from the USAID Civic Initiatives Support Program implemented by FHI 360 with financing from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility ofCenter for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ)and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the U.S. Government or FHI 360.
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