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Press syndicate says media freedom improved, but more needed

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 06,2015 - Last updated at May 06,2015

AMMAN — Media freedom in Jordan improved slightly in 2014 compared to 2013, remaining at the relatively free level, according to a report issued by the Jordan Press Association (JPA) on Wednesday.

On a scale of 100, press freedom in Jordan scored 47.61 per cent in 2014 compared to 44.15 in 2013, JPA President Tareq Momani told The Jordan Times, citing the report’s findings.

"In spite of regional developments, freedom of the media improved in the Kingdom, but what we look forward to is more improvements," Momani said, adding that the survey polled 582 media professionals.

The level of media freedom in print journalism stood at 46.9 per cent, and in news websites at 55.7 per cent, according to the report.

Turning to challenges facing media practitioners in 2014, Momani said not providing journalists with information ranked as the main problem.

Restricted access to information and the difficulty of the process came second in terms of challenges, while not inviting journalists to official events was third, followed by interference in journalists' work by different entities, Momani said, citing the report.

"No cases of murder, kidnapping or torture of journalists occurred in 2014 in Jordan. It takes simple administrative decisions to improve media freedom in Jordan."

If the government issues instructions for its departments to provide information readily to reporters, then media freedom will witness further improvement, he noted.

"We also need to improve media-related legislation," Momani added.

Salah Abbadi, head of the freedoms committee at the JPA, said the report called for amending some laws, including the Press and Publications Law.

It also stressed the importance of addressing the situation of print media to ensure newspapers’ stability and continuity.

Calling for forming a complaints council, Abbadi said the study suggested establishing a centre to gauge public opinion on different issues.

He stressed the need to put a stop to trying journalists before the State Security Court in cases concerning published material.

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