AMMAN — State media representatives on Monday said the performance of the official press was determined largely by government policies and budgetary considerations.
Blaming the media in general for creating tension and accusing several independent outlets of harbouring private agendas, the King said in an interview with Jordan Television (JTV) on Sunday that the official media “have regrettably failed to deal with the current stage and the exceptional conditions in the region with the required level of professionalism and ability to influence public opinion”.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Samih Maaytah said that one main reason why the state press was losing influence was that private media outlets were enjoying greater freedoms and larger audiences.
This change in environment, he added, requires state media bodies to improve their performance through professional training and rehabilitation, as well as a clear political vision.
He also underlined that state press is facing financial constraints that pose an obstacle to its development, arguing that these institutions are unable to report news objectively and professionally due to insufficient funding.
Director General of the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Faisal Shboul pointed out that state media act on policies set by the government, not their own, blaming Petra’s underdevelopment on a lack of resources and younger staff.
“Petra has been suffering for ages and due to scarce resources, its development has been going at a very slow pace. It is an ageing agency where no reporter is under the age of 30,” Shboul said.
“It is true that training is key to reshaping the skills of journalists, but sometimes you need fresh minds who understand the new technology being introduced into the media sphere. But also change needs time and needs resources. We call on the government to take this into account when considering the agency’s budget,” he added.
Partially agreeing with Maaytah and Shboul, JTV Director General Ramadan Rawashdeh told The Jordan Times that the official press has been paying a great deal of attention to major cities at the expense of rural areas.
“JTV has started to change its policies by giving more attention to remote areas. Our teams have started reaching out to underprivileged communities in order to keep them updated,” Rawashdeh said, adding that this will help deliver the government’s message outside the capital.
He blamed the poor image of the official media on private outlets competing with them “at the expense of quality and professionalism”.