Journalists in Jordan undergo training on how to cover 2020 elections

February 10, 2020

In light of the parliamentary elections taking place in Jordan in the second half of the year, EU-JDID is offering advanced training in election coverage to experienced Jordanian journalists.

These training courses started at the end of December 2019 and will continue until June 2020.

During an election period, the media face specific challenges at this key moment in democratic life. Citizens must have accurate knowledge of the facts and ideas delivered by politicians, but must also be able to make their own voices heard. Political figures must respect freedom of expression and information and not manipulate the media. Lastly, journalists, for their part, must respect the ethics of their profession.

According to the Election Observation Mission, which was commissioned by the European Union (UE) in September 2016 to monitor the Jordanian parliamentary elections, although obstacles to freedom of expression and information were observed during the elections, progress should be made as a matter of priority towards better regulation of the media during the campaign, fewer violations of the electoral code committed by the media, and balanced and neutral coverage, particularly for state media.

Ensuring accurate, objective and balanced coverage of elections

As the election-related component of the EU-JDID project is particularly in line with the recommendations made by the EU, the proposed training coursesThe training course was useful for all journalists – carried out in Amman in partnership with the Jordan Media Institute – aim to enhance the knowledge of journalists to ensure accurate, objective and balanced coverage of election candidates and events during the campaign and polls.
Over three days, they address the standards of the profession through the electoral prism, how to make elections and the associated technical language accessible to the public, how to use polls, how to use press releases and various journalistic techniques used to report electoral news.

According to a participant in the second session, " The training course was useful for all journalists. The trainer [emphasised] the rules that a journalist must be aware of when covering elections in order to be impartial, honest and credible in light of the reports and data that precede the electoral process […] The trainer stressed the importance for newspapers and the media not to interfere in the electoral process or align themselves with a candidate, and to follow the instructions set by the electoral commission. This course will help journalists cover the elections by providing them with easy access to information, which they can obtain in the right way", he said.

Four sessions were organised between December 2019 and January 2020.
Fifty-eight people from all over the country (70% living in Amman, 15% in the southern governorates and 15% in the north) benefited from it. Six more sessions will be offered up until the launch of the official campaign for the parliamentary elections in the second half of 2020.