2005, more than 500 media development professionals from dozens of countries
gathered in Amman, Jordan for the first summit of the Global Forum for
Media Development, a new alliance of organizations involved in media training
activities around the world.
The location of the gathering was significant: Jordan’s King Abdullah
has pointed toward the media as evidence of civil society reforms meant
to move his country on the road toward democratization. To drive that
message home to the assembled media professionals, the government organized
a panel discussion involving then-Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Moasher
and representatives of the government-sponsored and independent press
which turned into a fascinating free-for-all debate over the difference
between cosmetic and structural reform. TBS senior editor Lawrence
Pintak recorded the fireworks. What follows is an edited transcript:
Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me in the beginning to welcome you
again and welcome our guests who came here from all around the world.
I wish you the best time and memories here in our country.
We will try in only two hours to conclude a national dialogue that have
started 15 years ago in 1984 when we continued our path to democracy.
We will talk here about the means for developing the Jordanian media with
all its forms, fields and areas. In this dialogue we will have to specially
concentrate on the obstacles and difficulties that still occur on the
way to reform.
The truth is that the Jordanian plan for the media is itself the plan
for democratic reform in the country including all its stages and difficulties.
Journalism and the media do not grow in an environment isolated from all
its surroundings and surrounding changes. In fact we can say that the
Jordanian media and journalism were never in isolation from the surrounding
developments. The Jordanian media in the past one and a half decade have
accomplished a lot, something that reflects the plurality of thinking.
There are margin of freedom of expression and opinion in this difficult
century appearing especially in the opinion pages and columns not to mention
of course the investigative journalism and news standards. I specifically
refer to the Jordanian media when I say that the state owned media is
leading some brave steps and some hesitating steps towards reforming this
plurality. Still, it is below expectations. The irony lies in the fact
that the media still did not gain the trust of official authorities in
charge of managing, directing and funding it.
The Jordanian media still have to go through many stages to be able to
play its role in the industrial, economic and political development of
The main speakers -who represent the different participants in the media
operation in Jordan- will speak to us about their opinions in this media
reform and their expectations for the future. We will know more about
the changes that happened to the legislative organization of the media
and the media as a representative of rights and freedoms and responsibilities.
We will see the consequences of dissolving the ministry of information
and establishing the Supreme Council of Information. We will follow up
with the increasing role of the private sector in print journalism and
audio and visual media. We will also take a look at the role of media
and journalistic institutions with a special concentration on the press
syndicate and its increasing potential of raising the standards of freedom.
The debate will be stronger as we start discussing the compulsory membership
in the press syndicate. We will see what ideas and recommendations the
national agenda includes about this issue. I have to mention again the
strict timing for this session and that we have to stick to the topics
dealt with in it.
Please stand by the rules of the speech and respect the time we have for
comments so as to guarantee the guests their right to speak. I wish you
all the best in concluding to a group of ideas and suggestions that serve
enhancing the role the media plays in reform and development and realizing
the changes already knocking our doors. Please allow me to introduce the
main speakers, PhD Marwan al Muasher who is the deputy prime minister
and PhD. Mustafa Hamadi the president of the Strategic Studies Center
and Miss Rana Al Sabagh a writer and journalist and an instructor. She
has been hired lately as a member of Areej which is a journalistic institution.
Miss Rola AL Farra a media woman and a journalist.
(Marwan Al Muasher):
First I do not think that the recommendations are controversial except
when it comes to dealing with the membership of the press syndicate being
compulsory. I hope no recommendations are taken concerning canceling the
obligation of membership. We are not talking here about a conflict between
us and the pres syndicate which we respect very much. We are talking here
about the freedom of the media. Freedom of the media needs some fundamental
basics. We have tried in more than one session to enhance this freedom.
The commission by the way is composed of people from all the parts of
the society. It is not restricted to a certain person. It is representative
of all the media players including 3 of the 4 main newspapers in the country.
The commission has spent a lot of effort to come up with the recommendations.
There are 19 recommendations and not only one. Before we start looking
at them I would like to say that it is not only about media legislations.
We are still in the phase of transformation. We used to have the state
completely control information outlets. We are changing to allow more
freedom and independence and we are not over yet with this transformation
We have some legislations but there are many more still to come on the
way. It is true we dissolved the ministry of information but we do not
yet have a professional office that helps the foreign speaker express
about the country. We are speaking about dissolving the ministry of information
and not dissolving the role of the media and the right of the country
to defend itself and its position.
Then we have the culture of our society. I would really like to stress
on this point very much. Any person in charge in our country whether he
is a minister or a critic or a journalist or even a normal citizen is
not ready to accept criticism and listen to the other points of view.
We do not have a civilized dialogue respecting differences of opinion.
When we disagree with someone we describe him/her as someone with an external
agenda or that they are traitors etc. There is not civilized dialogue
which promotes us to practically respect the others’ opinion.
Please allow me to put forward the 19 recommendations that have been raised
to his majesty the King.
1. Having a general law regulating the media outlets according to the
constitutional rights of the Jordanians in expressing their opinion in
all available media.
2. These outlets include but are not limited to journalism and publications
in print and the audio and visual media and the internet and the news
3. The Jordanians have the right to own media outlets as individuals or
institutions or organizations or associations or private or public companies
without any restrictions and according to the rules put by the regulating
4. The direct and indirect contributions of the government to the ownerships
of media outlets are to be limited and do not pass a certain point to
guarantee that it does not affect the media and to preserve the independence
of these outlets. The State Television and Radio as well as the Jordanian
News Agency are exempted from this legislation. A Legislation is being
formed to differentiate between the ownership of the state and the editorial
5. The Cabinet assigns the members of the council for the Jordanian television
and radio and the Jordanian news agency according to the standards and
rules of these institutions. The King appoints the director of the corporation
and the agency. The television and radio council will be independent in
stating its editorial policies and will be held responsible of executing
6. According to article 7 of the constitution the state will propose a
law that protects the privacy of the individuals against insults and abuse
of the media.
7. State employees are prohibited from imposing a censorship on the media
or directing it or adjusting its working methods.
8. According to what have been previously mentioned, no journalist can
be suspended for mentioning his opinion or telling information and all
the cases dealing with media and publications will be dealt with through
9. No media institution can be shut down or closed or delayed or have
its license withdrawn for any reason until the judiciary gives its sentence.
10. The supreme council of information will be dissolved and the state
will work on encouraging the representatives of media outlets to form
an independent council of their own. This council will bear the responsibility
of issuing an annual report about the issues of journalism and put out
a professional code of honor for the practices of media and journalism.
11. A corporation will be established for the regulation of the information
sector. Under that corporation’s supervision will be the council
of the audio and visual media and the department of publication and print
after amending the rules for each of them.
a. The corporation’s council will develop a plan to issue licenses
for newspapers and prints and the council will not be allowed to reject
any application for publishing a newspaper for any outstanding legal demands.
b. A study is to be conducted to merge the council regulating the media
with the council issuing licenses. To guarantee the independence of the
system, the owner of any media institution or editors in chief or managing
editors or any journalist writing in any media institution will not be
allowed to accept any aid or benefit or any financial grant or any grant
what so ever from any Jordanian or non-Jordanian. Any government official
or person in charge in the state or employee will be prosecuted if he/she
offered a grant (be it financial or of any kind) to an editor in chief
or managing editor or journalist working at any media institution or any
writer in the Jordanian media institutions.
13. The Jordanian cabinet will appoint leaders according to transparency
standards to organize the publishing of official advertisements and subscriptions
to media so as to protect public interests.
14. The membership of journalists in the press syndicate will not be obligatory.
15. A law will be issued concerning information outlets that will state
the system limiting media monopoly to protect the public opinion from
a small number of individuals owning more than one information outlet.
It will also organize the integration of these outlets.
16. The plan for a free press and freedom of expression will include:
a. The citizens will have the right to access all the ideas and information
in all the fields.
b. All the people and syndicates and the clubs will be provided the space
to express their ideas and opinions and achievements.
c. The right to get information and news and statistics from all sources
of information and spreading this information and publishing and commenting
d. The right for the media institutions and journalists working in these
institutions to keep unannounced their sources of information.
17. Information outlets
will have at all times to be accurate in what they publish or broadcast
to preserve the balance and objectivity and will have at all times to
make sure of their sources of information and to comply with the law rules.
18. The media will have to explain the nature of their paid advertising
material by clarifying to the reader or viewer doubtlessly what ideas
the advertisement are carrying.
19. All legislations related to information outlets will be amended to
be made public with the text of the media law and which do not conflict
in text or form with the general principles of the media. It is a must
to make public all the standards for increasing editorial material in
a very responsible way putting in mind the plurality and opposite opinions.
And for the first time we depute establishing private radio and television
The amendment of the
law submitted to the government also has some amendments: allowing investments
in that important sector and assuring that the audio and visual media
is included in this. Also the legislation stated a mechanism that guarantees
transparency. This will be through the telling of any individual to guarantee
competition and support freedom of expression and opinion and to guarantee
objectivity and being professionally balanced.
All this pours -as a matter of fact- in the re-structuring of the Jordanian
media according to two principles. First is independence and all the legislations
emphasize this. Second is the reports of the media organizations that
are mentioned in this document.
Here we are now in front of a media council without a real assessment
of dissolving the ministry of information which happened two years ago.
Please speak to us about the experience of the high council of information.
Do you have comments about the mentioned recommendations and what do you
say about the council of information?
I would like to thank all the speakers here. I would like to discuss here
some of the problems that occurred since we established the council. Actually
there were many problems. I am happy that some of the recommendations
-in fact many of them- are important for the solving of troubles in some
of the media fields. As we approach the steps of new reform, a new law
was made last year as a permanent law. The law decreed its goals and powers
based on 4 main points. We can here illustrate the results of running
this law for the past years and see if it really achieved what it was
The first point is the legislative point. The law was supposed allow proposing
legislations serving the organizing of the media according to a main plan
by the state and to re-structure the Jordanian media. On the legislative
level the council has achieved a large number of legislations. First of
all is the decree of a law that regulates the journalism and the press.
This project was completed in 2003 and is currently still in the parliament
for verification. This legislation stresses on the use of a system that
guarantees the freedom of the journalist while in duty and the prohibition
of stalling him or imprisoning him in cases related to publishing. This
was put forward by PhD
Marwan Al Muasher.
Also in the rules governing the violations of audio and visual media,
the decision is up to the state court and not to any other corps. With
respect to the legislation concerning the audio and visual media, this
legislation is currently in process in the parliament and it grants the
radio and television financial and administrative independence in addition
to the editorial and legal independence. We have to stress here that the
television and radio are confirmed to be free media through encouraging
investments in this important sector and through creating a system that
guarantees its transparency. All the legislations stress on the independence
of media institutions.
The other point is allowing more freedom in all types of Jordanian media
whether it is audio, visual or print. The council has also proposed to
the cabinet with a law that guarantees the right of getting information
and that will not be limited to the media which suffers from this problem
but will be extended to the public in general.
Another law will be amended with this law. That is the law protecting
international cooperation rights. The documents that have passed the 30
years period should be available for the public.
There are also two systems in addition to the previously stated laws.
First, amending the employing system in the media and allowing for the
official spokesman and the government to express its opinion. Second is
a system that states the basis for the financial, editorial and administrative
independence of the Jordanian news agency.
The best example to give is months ago a report was issued on the practices
of media freedoms in Jordan. That report had a proper scientific basis
and was in equal terms with the practical world. It said that the freedom
of expression in Jordan was still proportional and was not graded high
or very high. This is very objective and based on scientific measures.
Also in my study now and in an analysis of the topics dealt with in Jordanian
newspapers, I propose this question: Do the newspapers really allow for
all opinions, are they open on all the sectors of the society, and deal
with all the issues requiring follow-up? With respect to weekly newspapers,
and when analyzing their contents, what are the issues dealt with in the
newspapers and what are the main differences between them and the daily
On the other hand the council has established a center for media training
which is now teaching a number of about 22 courses in the journalism field.
Next year there will be courses for television inside the TV studio. This
proves our persistence on raising the standards of the administrators.
Finally, it is clear that the council’s complaints about the media
and the issues of freedom of the press and expression are not exaggerated.
We have to check if there are complaints from institutions and individuals
about issues of expression and about the independence of the media institutions.
We also have to make sure that journalists are not put under pressures
which affect their professionalism. All the media reforms do not conflict
with the points mentioned by the deputy prime minister about the national
agenda including those dealing with dissolving the council.
PhD Mustafa Hammadi the vice president of the radio and television corporation
speaks to all the institutions of the state about the state media, not
a media that protects the plurality of Jordan. Amid large amounts of freedom
claimed and the civilized and political media dialogue, what are the skills
that can promote reforms in the radio and television corporation which
is considered to be the main frame of Jordanian media.
The media institutions are in an critical transformation phase and putting
this in mind we have to help in its consolidation. We need to make proper
use of this phase to go to the next one where plurality and political
participation are a norm. If we relate this to the nature of government
formation, we’ll find that there are two kinds of dialogue. There
is the public announced dialogue and there is the dialogue behind closed
doors directed to the officials in the institutions. There is a big difference
between the two dialogues.
We have to open our radio and television institutions in for political
participation and do what the media does in the next session. We plan
and execute. Otherwise we will have to choose between one of two roads.
The first is political reform. The government or any coming government
will go along with the board of directors and convert the council to a
development tool. The second will be resistance. This will be a very difficult
and tiring job. It will be faster to do what we are doing now. We have
to stay determined on the reform from within. The problem mainly lies
in the law regulating shaping the boards of directors. The radio and television
board of directors is the only one that did so successfully. It wanted
to reform itself according to the law and make a qualitative change. This
change is just like PhD Marwan Al Muasher have said, about the culture
of this society. We can not discuss the issue as if it is a war between
the boards of the television and Radio corporations and the governments.
We do not need to fight. We are asking for developments and wide amendments
that accumulate to allow us to go forward in this field. We are proceeding
slowly in spite of the fact that we are stable.
Vice president of the press syndicate: the syndicate is now in the process
of gathering voices about some of the recommendations of the national
agenda especially the part dealing with the membership being compulsory.
We do not know what will happen after that. Why is all this campaign and
why doesn’t the syndicate play its role in amending its laws and
improving its programs. Why is all this delay in playing the proper role?
I salute you all. The president of the syndicate was actually supposed
to be the one speaking but he is working now. It seems the speech will
be about the membership of the syndicate being compulsory. The syndicate
was founded in 1953 and includes until now 652 journalists and 150 trainees.
The syndicate has been practicing it work according to laws issued by
the Jordanian parliament. These laws defined the journalist as the one
who works in journalism and who is a member of the press syndicate. This
definition is for a reason. It was never for the sake of making the membership
of the syndicate obligatory. In fact there are people who are not members
of the syndicate and who own media institutions. This is not the point.
The point was to guarantee the commitment of the journalists to their
duties. There must not be any clash of interests between their duties
as journalists and their role in directing the media and the public opinion,
and between their work on the other side as lawyer or police officers
or otherwise in any non-media institutions.
The journalist in Jordan has to be independent. It is from here that it
appeared the issue of the journalists’ independence. Other people
call it compulsory membership. No article in the laws of the syndicate
state that membership in the syndicate is compulsory. The editor in chief
in Jordan has to be a member in the syndicate and enjoy all the benefits
provided, legal protection for instance. A journalist does not want to
stand in front of the general attorney without having besides him the
president of the press syndicate or someone representing him. This is
a kind of protection and legal care for Jordanian journalists. There are
also many other benefits such as social and medical insurance and housing
and provided by the syndicate. We in the syndicate say that the freedom
of expression is not a privilege to the journalists only but is also for
all the Jordanian people. That is why the code of honor at the syndicate
penalizes any journalist violating the privacy of people, because privacy
of lives is protected by law. The syndicate always protects the journalists
from governments. The press syndicate has demonstrated many times and
its members have been beaten in the streets when some of the governments
in the nineties tried to introduce laws that stand against public freedoms.
Also the press syndicate at one of the stages filed a case to cancel the
law of publications when one of the governments tried to gather the voices
of journalists and that is not a part of the duties of journalist. Of
course the syndicate is a member of the international journalists union
and the world journalists union.
The syndicate has a point of view about the foreign funding. The syndicate
says that not all the funding is in secret. The syndicate does not mind
any funding from say the United Nations’ different offices like
the UNESCO or even the European Union, but the syndicate fears a lot the
funding operations done behind the state’s back and behind the back
of any other supervising body to the benefit of individuals in Jordan
or funding granted from outsiders right into the journalists’ pockets.
What I really fear now is the fact that this funding is no more directed
at training journalists. It has extended to offer direct information to
governments. If this is the case, then we are in a dangerous situation
and the syndicate can not accept this because this is a violation of the
As for the recommendations, the journalists are today suspending all their
duties in all the journalistic institutions in the private and public
sector as well as in the Jordanian News Agency for an hour in response
to the demands of the syndicate’s council. Also the syndicate’s
council launched a campaign to elaborate the average membership levels
in the syndicate to the house of dignitaries and we had the full agreement
and cooperation of the presidents of the council of the syndicate and
the house of dignitaries. There will be a protest next Tuesday for the
syndicate in front of the cabinet of ministers headquarters to support
the position of the syndicate. This will not be against the government
but rather against the recommendation of the agenda. It will be in front
of the cabinet headquarters because the national council of the agenda
takes the cabinet building as its headquarters. We want to deliver our
opinion and make known our position and we want to say that this recommendation
is strictly against the journalists because the syndicate is technically
a body regulating the profession. The Jordanian governments always allowed
syndicates for professions such as the syndicate of engineers and teachers
and lawyers the right to regulate the practices of the profession.
We are playing our role using this right. This issue deeply touches the
Jordanian people. The syndicate is one of the largest bodies defending
the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press and journalists.
We support many of the other recommendations and in fact agree with 99%
of the recommendations because they are vital. Thank You
I am a member in the syndicate for 20 years now. For us, there was no
other choice. If we had another choice maybe this would not have been
the case. The syndicate tried to help in many things though.
I stand with the freedom of choice. The syndicate is a center for choice
arbitration. No difference is there between a Jordanian working in Reuters
in the news gathering and another person working in a Jordanian newspaper.
Are we more loyal? The syndicate itself develops its rules and is widening
the base for membership. Unfortunately we do not deal with problems unless
I am with the freedom of choice. We were speaking now about the independence
of the media. I do not believe that the syndicate was ever independent
except lately. I work in the news gathering and always attended the events
of the syndicate.
The intelligence used to send a fax to all the Jordanian news papers in
which it put the name of the president and the vice president of the syndicate.
That was the case before the independence of the syndicate. Many times
the syndicate prevented us from expressing different views. I am a journalist
and this means that I cover different opinions and viewpoints. Say for
example I wanted to conduct an interview with Shimon Perez or Sharon.
I will have then to understand what he says and thinks. The syndicate
will usually kick me out because I violated the inner code of ethics.
How can I become a journalist and deliver my opinion when I am threatened
that if I talk about Israel I will be kicked out of the syndicate. Many
colleagues have been kicked out of the syndicate because they criticized
Israel. God bless Abdallah Hasanat whom everyone remembers. Some also
were suspended from the syndicate as prejudice. We are living in a country
were law rules inside all institutions and it is the rule of law that
determines if a person can or can not be a journalist.
The syndicate always repeats that as journalists we have to be members
in the syndicate. A carpenter may be able to write his opinion. Any technician
may be able to write his opinion. Lots of people can write and yet they
do not make use of the benefits provided by the syndicate. What have the
syndicate offered to those who write in many places? Nothing. What have
they offered to those who paid subscriptions? Nothing.
I once had a complaint against the president of a board of directors.
Neither the president of the syndicate nor his representative talked to
me. Yet I am obligated to join the syndicate. When I face the general
attorney, I better have a lawyer with me. The syndicate does not offer
me any protection.
The Syndicates are a part of the Russian folklore and a part of the totalitarian
regimes. It is not a part of the Jordanian folklore. Thank You PhD. Marwan
About the audio and visual media, why is there a distinction between planning
the audio and visual media and planning the print media.
I would like to summarize this very quickly. The audio and visual media
body was established according to the law issued on 16-12-2002. Some of
the attendances are very late introducing private investment to this field.
It has been late but better late than never. This body organizing running
the audio and visual media practiced its role according to the law. It
is briefly a licensing authority for the public and private sector and
it refuses any monopolizing of the public sector by issuing laws preventing
The law of radio and television which is now the radio and television
corporation is one of the main players in the media field. Issuing a law
that allows private investments in radio and television broadcasting is
a big development. There is an unprecedented tendency in this law -unlike
many of the other Arab countries in the Middle East- to allow unlimited
foreign investments in this sector. There is however a demand for the
evaluation. There are no restrictions at all in what is called the general
system regulating investments. Until now the real work is concentrated
in issuing licenses for broadcasting. The organization issued 13 FM radio
licenses. We have 8 live stations running now. We have 5 under construction
and are expected to go on air in the coming weeks. We have a license for
terrestrial television broadcasting and 3 licenses for satellite broadcasting.
This is all a proof of foreign investment. The first license issued by
the audio and visual organization was for a Romanian-Jordanian company.
Now we have a company broadcasting and distributing terrestrial channels
in Jordan. The license is according to the cabinet resolution number 18
and it is obvious that the cabinet has the right to accept or reject any
license without declaring reasons.
Please allow me to discuss some of the notes about this point in particular.
It might seem unfair not to mention the right to reject or accept the
licensing. The writer of this law was very right. The main determining
point is the frequency. Because if any one applies for a license among
a group of applicants and we have only one, the prime minister will be
the one in charge in giving the license to the party he decides will get
it. The legislator was right in making this decision or other wise the
applicants will retreat to court.
Mr. Mohammed Al Aryan referred to licenses for audio and visual broadcasting
at the end of his speech. I totally agree because it is the private sector’s
right to invest and so create a real competition in the field.
I believe that the television and radio programs have a real problem after
the law allowed the presence of other players in the field in Jordan.
The Jordanian television and radio have to improve their programming.
As PhD Marwan Muasher said we are facing a real challenge right now calling
for the improvement of broadcasting.
All I have left to say is that we have only now thought of putting general
policies regulating this sector and we know that there are some issues
that really have to be dealt with before we encounter a real problem.
Fortunately we did not encounter any problems until now but we may in
the near future. This broadcasting field is known to be a wide and large
one and that is why we have to put general policies for this sector to
be regulated to be able to answer some questions in the field.
The private sector started investing in the field of the media for years.
It started with the print media and here it is now in the audio and visual
media. What are the obstacles and problems facing this investment?
I will have to speak quickly I believe. I would like to thank my colleague
from the press syndicate. I would like to propose a suggestion here. Any
profession requires learning and going to the university. A university
degree is required for an engineer or a doctor to practice his job. The
journalist also requires a degree. But an economist can be a journalist
and so can be a politician or an artist. So can we define the journalist
as the one graduating with a degree in journalism?
I want to think about the new law regulating the press and publications
which is a good one and is now in front of the parliament in 2004.
The journalist is defined as the member in the syndicate. Is this logical?
This is not my only point. The recommendations by PhD Marwan Al Muasher
were great and it would be much better if we see them in practice. Our
problem is not limited to legislations. Our problem has many aspects.
The legislations are one of them. Other aspects of our problems lie in
who are putting the legislations in action. The problems starts with the
young kids. This is what I suggested in my paper. In the modern world
we have what is called “Education for Democracy” which starts
in Kinder Garden and continues to the highest levels of education. Even
if now the national agenda comes up with these very good recommendations,
and we have them legislated. Assuming this, we have the main problem of
who is in charge of putting them into action. PhD Marwan Al Muasher in
his speech said that some of the officials do not accept criticism from
the media or the press.
PhD Mustafa Hammadi spoke clearly about a case of schizophrenia in the
governments that say something in the public to the world and to the international
arena and in the media and give orders for something else to the reporters
and producers in the television. All the journalists complain from pressures
imposed on them because they tried to offer some space for the different
opinions that are probably far from the governments’ opinion. The
problem does not lie in a crippled system but rather in those in charge
of putting words into actions.
I would like to comment on Mr. Hisham who said that it is to the benefit
of the journalists to join the syndicate. It is really insulting for the
journalists to join the syndicate in this way. As a matter of fact this
is the patriarchy we are used to. It is the parents covering. “I
know better than you and so it is better if you listen to me and do what
I tell you”.
I think we are grown ups and every one of us has the right to choose the
bridge that best suits him.
Finally the syndicates are a type of civil society institution. It should
not be influenced by the state. The press syndicate is there to regulate
the profession internally between its members through dialogue. I might
not agree with the syndicate on certain issues. But still I should not
be a member to become a journalist.
All around the world, a journalist is never to be arrested for an opinion
he expressed. No arrests are done until a sentence is issued by the judiciary.
Even then the punishment will be through a fine and still he will never
be sentenced to jail because this is the style used for terrifying journalists.
My next point is what Mr. Hisham mentioned about the law protecting the
secrets of the state. Do we really have to wait for 30 years to know something
about what happened in the Gulf war? This really contradicts the concept
of the spread of information and the right to fully access information.
Licensing for example in the modern world is not done to take permission
to publish. Any local or individual has the right to publish a newspaper
or a bulletin or any publication expressing his opinion. PhD Marwan Al
Muasher said that any individual or institution can own a newspaper so
does this mean that a company should be publishing the newspaper in order
to get a permission?
I also want to make a note about the free media zone in Jordan. We all
had great expectations when his majesty the king delivered his speech
in the parliament and asked for a media city. We all hoped that the whole
of Jordan becomes a media center and not only a piece of land granted
for a large amount of money or sold for a larger amount of money to establish
on it a media zone that broadcasts freely to the world. If we want a free
market and that is Jordan’s slogan “free market” and
if we want to compete with the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic
of Egypt, then the whole of Jordan has to be a free media zone.