Jordan ranks 120th on World Press Freedom index

press camera
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Jordan ranked 120 (out of 180 countries) for 2022 on the World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Moving up nine places since last year, Jordan ranked fifth in the Arab world, after Comoros, Mauritania, Tunisia, and Qatar.اضافة اعلان

The aim of the World Press Freedom Index is to compare the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists and media outlets in the 180 countries analyzed. The analysis is based on the definition of press freedom developed by RSF and its group of experts, in the context of the systematic review of the 2022 edition.

They defined press freedom as “the effective possibility for journalists, as individuals and as groups, to select, produce, and disseminate news and information in the public interest, independently from political, economic, legal and social interference, and without threats to their physical and mental safety.”

In its report the RSF said that Jordan is known for its political stability, which distinguishes it from its neighbouring countries, but media professionals censor themselves and respect the implicit red lines around certain subjects. It added that Jordan’s media are rarely independent and many television channels such as Al-Mamlaka TV are semi-governmental. Jordan also has state, private and community radio stations, as well as independent media platforms such as 7iber and Aramam, the report stated.

The report went on to say that the authorities control certain media outlets by appointing their editors (including those of Jordan TV, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, and the Al-Dustour and Al-Rai newspapers) and controlling their finances.

Commenting on the legal framework, the report said that ever since the media law’s revision in 2012, the authorities have stepped up their control, especially over the internet, where hundreds of sites have been blocked. Under the 2015 cybercrime law, certain website and social media posts are punishable by prison sentences. Journalists are often prosecuted and even convicted under an extremely vaguely worded terrorism law. It added that the authorities can prosecute journalists and force them to pay heavy fines, while the Broadcasting Commission charges broadcast media outlets exorbitant amounts for their licenses. Privately owned media outlets, especially those not controlled by the authorities, struggle to survive due to a lack of financial resources. Some choose not to criticize private sector companies and public figures in order to obtain funding.

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