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As gov’t raises official ads’ prices, ‘ball in court of papers to stand on feet again’

By Laila Azzeh - Aug 14,2017 - Last updated at Aug 14,2017

Managements of newspapers are urged to capitalise on a gov’t decision to increase fees for official ads and take their own moves to improve the incomes of their organisations (File photo)

AMMAN – While the journalists' syndicate and media experts have hailed the recent decision by the Cabinet to increase the price of government advertisements in newspapers, they noted that the measure is still "insufficient" to address the "crisis" the print media is going through. 

On Sunday, the government decided to raise the price of its advertisements in newspapers by 120 per cent — from JD0.25 to JD0.55 per word — in a bid to help the sector cope with the financial challenges. 

The print media has been under severe financial pressures, which resulted in at least one local newspaper going out of business and the others suffering cash shortages to varying degrees in the past few years. 

According to Minister of State for Media Affairs  and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani, the decision was a response to the sector's demand. 

Before the new measure, the annual cost of government advertising stood at JD3.5 million. The newspapers' revenues from the official ads will now reach around JD8 million, the minister noted. 

For Nidal Mansour, president of the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), the new step is “positive”. However, he questioned its ability to resolve the “chronic financial difficulties newspapers are going through”. 

On the other hand, he raised a question why the Jordan Press Association (JPA) council focused on the demands of newspapers and neglected news websites, TV and radio stations. 

He called for innovative ideas to address the media crisis, away from the government’s financial support, which might “jeopardise media freedoms”. 

Yanal Barmawi, JPA deputy president, underlined the need for the managements of newspapers not to solely rely on the increased revenues, but to instead look for other solutions to resolve their challenges. 

“These institutions are required to improve their quality and line of productions, while addressing corruption which has resulted in the failure of many investment projects that might have prevented newspapers from suffering this much,” he told The Jordan Times on Monday. 

Barmawi urged newspapers benefiting from the new measure to develop their quality and “bring back their glory as credible media platforms”.

Ad-Dustour Chief Editor Mohammad Tal also commended the new measure, which he said “came just in time to rescue newspapers from their chronic financial situation”.

 

“The new move means that the state pays special attention to print media and the rights of journalists…the decision will definitely increase Ad-Dustour’s revenues and resolve some of its major challenges,” he told The Jordan Times.  

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FRANKLY SPEAKING, I DO NOT KNOW HOW MANY FEET AND WHAT KIND OF FEET DO WE EXPECT THE NEWS PRINT SECTORS TO STAND ON WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN DOING EXTRAORDINARILY VERY WELL WITHOUT ANY RESOURCES. CONSIDER THE JORDAN TIMES THAT I HAVE TAKEN TIME TO VISIT WHILE IN AMMAN, THEY ARE ALMOST OPPERATING ON A BEAR BONE RESOURCES AND YET COVERS THE NEWS WORLD WIDE AND EXCELLENT. JORDAN TIMES IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTAT OUTLET TOOL THAT ATTRACT INVESTMENTS AND TOURISM IN JORDAN. THIS PARTICULAR NEWS PRINT NEEDS THE GOVERNMENT HELP AS WELL AS INDIVIDUALS AND PRIVATE SECTORS. IN FACT, EVERY SCHOOL IN JORDAN SHOULD HAVE THE DAILY JORDAN TIMES PRINT IN THE SCHOOL LIBERARIES AND HOME DELIVERIES FOR PRIVATE CITIZENS SHOULD BE AS IT IS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. IN A NUT SHELL, THE PROPOSED INCREASE WAS LONG OVERDUE.

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