If the spirit of text is to be followed, it clearly makes a demarcation between media and the government so that the media is guaranteed with a freedom of expression as stipulated in the Constitution of Jordan. It even went into details as to prohibit government in providing “the provision of financial incentives or in-kind designed to influence the journalists or the media and work on the subject of any practice inconsistent with the laws and the Charter of the press approved by the JPA”. This meant that government and its agencies are prohibited to give bribes to media in any form or kind that will influence its function as a press agency out of fear of black mail or to pursue its own popularity by influencing media through incentives. The text also circumscribed the state’s power of the purse to ensure that it does not influence media by the leverage of its ad placement. To prevent this, it directs its “departments and institutions through a direct purchase from the market” to ensure that it will not meddle with the media that would compromise its independence. Meaning, government and its agencies will buy its subscriptions from the market and not through the free subscription given by the media. The guideline also prohibits government institution from employing any entity from the media to prevent it from having a close relation with the press which might induce it to influence the press. It ensures the objectivity of the media by guaranteeing, through the guidelines, that the media as an institution is separate and apart from the government and thus independent. Again, if the spirit of these guidelines is to be strictly followed, it can be considered as revolutionary in terms of upholding press freedom in Jordan because government is distancing itself from the media to ensure its independence and objectivity that can be likened to the code of regulations that govern the press in non-Arab countries. The text might have been the original draft of the National Agenda Committee which was a response of the government to prevent any similar uprising in Jordan that happened in its neighbouring countries. It is important to note that in March 7, 2011 hundreds of Jordanian journalists emboldened by the wave of Arab uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia demanded an end to government’s curtailment of media freedom in Jordan (al-Khalidi 2011). There is a big probability that the draft was just a political move of the government to quell a possible uprising in Jordan and did not necessarily mean it. The draft was obviously not final because a month after the publication of such guidelines, Daoud Kuttab, a prominent journalist from Al Arabiya was called by the National Agenda Committee headed by Marwan Muasher in April of 2011 to consult his opinion in the government’s initiative “to design a strategic media plan” (Kuttab a 2011). Series of meetings happened after the initial meeting where a suggestion to adopt a media council and ending the mandatory membership in journalist association were adopted. “The new strategy also recommended revision of a dozen or so laws related to the media” (Kuttab a 2011). The progressive initiative to uphold media independence and freedom was however temporary as a draft of Press and Publications Law was also forced through the Cabinet in parallel to the strategic media plan. The draft of the Press and Publica
Name Class Professor Date Critical Response to the Jordanian Governments Published Code of Conduct Regulating Relations between the Media and the Government In any regulation involving government’s relation with the media, the actual application of the policy matters more than the written text of the guidelines…
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