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Deputies endorse draft amendments to Press Association Law

By Khaled Neimat - Apr 09,2014 - Last updated at Apr 09,2014

AMMAN — The Lower House on Wednesday endorsed the draft amendments to the Jordan Press Association (JPA) Law after deliberating the bill for four sessions, during which MPs added new provisions and changed others.

The draft amendments stipulate certain new methods for electing members of the JPA council, under which the president’s deputy henceforth will be elected directly from the general assembly.

Previously, the person for this post was selected from members of the JPA council.

The changes to the JPA law come just two weeks before the association is to hold elections to select new members for its council. 

However, these amendments will not affect these polls as the bill must first go to the Senate to be discussed and approved before being sent to His Majesty King Abdullah for ratification, after which it will be published in the Official Gazette, when it will go into effect. 

The JPA elections are slated for April 25, hence the old version of the law will remain in effect and govern the polls, according to parliamentarians.

The new bill regulated several issues relating to the elections of the JPA council and the means to protect the profession from anyone who tries to damage its reputation, in addition to investing the association’s funds.

The draft amendments also detailed the activities the association will carry out, including training and educational events.

In Tuesday’s session, the Lower House defined the eligibility of any individual aspiring to become a member of the Jordan Press Association, limiting the journalism profession to holders of bachelor’s degrees.

MPs endorsed a provision in the legislation under which holders of high school diplomas can no longer become JPA members. 

Excluded from this stipulation are journalists who have been practising the profession for at least eight years and can prove it, as well as photojournalists.

Under the new amendments, MPs also decided to extend the training period for holders of media and journalism diplomas to three years from two years in the current version of the bill.

According to the endorsed draft, spokespersons in government agencies will not have the right to join the JPA at all.

At the end of the session, some MPs called for reopening for further discussions provisions that focus on the definition of a journalist and of a press institution, but the majority of deputies voted against the motion.

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