(MENAFN - Jordan Times) His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday inaugurated the launch of the Media Strategy's executive programme, which the government said is aimed at fostering a "balanced, professional and responsible media sector" that represents all views in society.
In his address at the event, which was attended by senior government officials, MPs, senators and media representatives, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh said the strategy adds a "new stone to the structure of reform the government has been building".
"Launching the executive programme of the media strategy today reflects the government's commitment to implement what it promised in its response to the Letter of Designation," Tarawneh said.
The premier noted that the government is building on previous strategies and efforts already made towards media development, in cooperation with the media sector and civil society institutions, adding that the strategy took into account freedoms and responsibilities and the latest advancements in the media world.
The strategy, which was endorsed by the government in June last year, aims to create an environment that supports an independent and well informed media based on a suitable legislative basis to achieve balance between freedom and responsibility, he said.
Tarawneh underlined that the government has realised the importance of developing the media sector and boosting press freedoms in order for the media to be able to uphold their responsibilities and dutuies in defending public interests.
He stressed that the government is keen on developing a more institutionalised relationship with the media based on transparency, openness and responsibility to secure a free platform that reflects citizens' views impartially and defends their interests professionally.
"We acknowledge that the media is one of the most important pillars of modern democracy," Tarawneh said.
He said that the strategy executive programme includes a plan to develop and organise the performance of print, audiovisual and electronic media without infringing on press freedoms.
Presenting the main aspects of the programme, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Samih Maaytah said the press is a key tool in any reform process.
Maaytah said the media will not be able to perform their duties and responsibilities without adhering to professionalism and credibility and working independently in a legislative environment that empowers press freedoms.
"The strategy is another important reform achievement that comes as the country is on the verge of running parliamentary elections, which will crown the reform process and open the door to further reform steps, including parliamentary governments," Maaytah said.
He stressed that the media bears a major role in stimulating popular participation in the upcoming elections as well as respecting the opinion of any individual with regards to the Elections Law.
The minister underlined that some of the goals of the strategy have already been achieved, such as introducing amendments to the Audiovisual Law, the Access to Information Law and the Protection of State Secrets and Documents Law, as well as the endorsement of a new strategy for the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
Maaytah said the government addressed the Ministry of Higher Education and the Higher Education Council regarding the strategy's recommendations to upgrade the curricula at media faculties to include the latest additions to the state of the art.
The minister added that it is vital to strengthen professionalism through creating an adequate infrastructure, adding that the government - in coordination with all stakeholders - seeks to increase the level of media personnel training and rehabilitation.
Preparations, he said, were under way for the King Abdullah II Award for Media Excellence to stimulate a new level of academic research and community media initiatives among youths.
The award will be supervised by the Jordan Media Institute.
Maaytah also added that under the strategy, the government will work with the Jordan Press Association to revise its law to better serve the profession and the media sector.