Recent events, such as the alleged McCain allegations (which some people are still convinced with, apparently) and the Jordan Festival normalization ‘suspicions’ that came very close to cancelling it, have revealed serious incompetence on the part of the press. The journalists are blaming the government’s lack of transparency for the spread of rumors. This may have been a factor, but there’s more to it than that, I’m sure.
Maybe it’s because in Jordan, journalism, as a career, is not thought very highly of. The mentality that compels our high-achieving students to become doctors or engineers is still very much alive. Or maybe it’s because we only used to have access to government-owned newspapers for a long time, then suddenly became exposed to online media with all its candor, which led some people to abuse it. Or maybe it’s because journalists were not acquainted with journalism ethics in the first place.
Whatever it is, there have been recent steps to improve the situation. The Council of Higher Education has raised the admission average to the faculty of journalism in Al-Yarmouk University from 65% to 70%. King Abdullah has created a private fund for providing proper training for journalists to improve journalism in Jordan and push it a step forward. News websites are vowing to adhere to the standards set by the union.
Controlling media in Jordan is definitely not the answer, especially when it comes to online media, simply because it cannot be done. You ban one website, another’s going to pop up the next day. It’s about reintroducing ethics and standards. It’s about education.