In the framework of Sahafa Med, an informal meeting between Jordanian freelance journalists and representatives of international donors who support media and journalists in Jordan took place in Amman on 21 February at the premises of the Community Media Network, a group of community radio stations.
The meeting brought together 28 people, including a dozen journalists from rural and peri-rural Jordan (from the cities of Mafrak, Irbid, Salt, Jerash and Maan, which are rarely in contact with donors), a few freelancers working in the capital, and six donors – the European Union, the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), the Open Society Fundation (OSF), the Agence française de développement médias (CFI), InterNews and UNESCO. It is an opportunity to open up channels of communication, to get people to talk to each other, and for people to listen and hear each other’s needs.
In an extremely fragile regional economic context, the meeting consisted of explaining the contexts, the difficulties for journalists and the framework for action for donors.
The journalists took the opportunity to present the difficulties of the job: extremely poorly paid “350 Jordanian dinars, i.e. 500 € gross for three months of investigation without reimbursement of transport costs”, they explained that they were often “dispossessed of their copyrights or even their signature” and that they were “obliged to have several small jobs” to survive …. They reported that they sometimes receive training “unrelated to the needs of the profession and its evolution”, and complain about the difficulties of accessing official information in the absence of a professional journalism card…
The donors, for their part, presented the framework of their actions and their projects.
An appointment was made in three months’ time for a second informal meeting. The idea is to strengthen ties and find projects to build together. In particular, the creation of a forum, or multaqa, bringing together freelance journalists, who would apply to become an ‘Associate Member’ of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in order to obtain the professional card facilitating access to information for professionals.