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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 18 September 2012

New support for civil society and media in Jordan

Brussels, 18 September 2012 – New funding of €9 million for the media in Jordan was approved by the European Commission. The support will help to establish free, independent and high quality journalism by developing training programmes and institutions for media professionals, helping to design and establish an independent regulatory body and an independent media council with a code of conduct to be developed by media and journalist organisations.

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, announcing the adoption of the package said: "The media played a key role in the events of the Arab Spring last year. This support shows the EU's continued commitment to make sure that the press in Jordan is as independent as possible and is of the highest possible standards. At a time of transition, the importance of civil society groups and independent media in reinforcing a democratic society is ever increasing."

“Ensuring freedom of expression and of media is one of the key priorities of the joint EU-Jordan ENP Action Plan and a cornerstone of democracy," added Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy and Vice President of the European Commission. This programme represents an additional concrete example of the EU commitment to support a close partner country as Jordan in its endeavours in reinforcing fundamental freedoms.

The funding will also help to put in place a strategy, action plan (which is expected to include collaboration with European media institutions) and dialogue between relevant ministries, the legislators and the Royal Court, and the country's media, in order to improve communication amongst them.

The new package will also help to set up a Civil Society Fund (CSF). This joint initiative between the Jordanian government and the EU will improve the co-ordination of EU support to civil society organisations; helping to make their work to help the Jordan people more effective. The extra support has been announced in response to lessons learned from previous EU assistance projects which highlighted a number of weaknesses of Jordanian civil society organisations.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Government of Jordan started a national dialogue process in March 2011 calling for representatives of civil society to discuss the political reform of the country. The role of civil society in development and in the country's reform process is encouraged by the Royal Court and the government.

The European Union has made enhancing the partnership with civil society one of its core priorities for its future relations with the region and has set aside substantial resources to provide training and expertise and to enable civil society to play a greater role in meeting the needs of Jordanian citizens during the reform process which is currently underway.

Background:

The European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan for Jordan reflects the European Union’s response to Jordan’s national agenda, and sets out a comprehensive set of priorities including “the promotion of freedom of association and development of civil society”.

This package is structured as follows: two components dealing with civil society and media for an amount of €4 million each, plus management activities related to audit, evaluation and visibility , for a total amount of €1 million.

Support to civil society

Considering the analysis of the weaknesses of the civil society organisations in Jordan, and to ensure that the intervention is placed in long-term perspective as part of a global vision, a new Civil Society Fund (CSF) has been proposed.

As a joint initiative between the government of Jordan and the EU, the CSF will contribute to moving forward the programme and institutional approach in the support provided to civil society organisations in Jordan. In addition the CSF will improve the co-ordination of EU funds to civil society organisations.

Support to media

Improved quality and independence of the media in Jordan most effectively can be achieved through a dialogue, strategy and action plan between on the one side, the responsible ministers, the legislators and the Royal Court, and on the other side, state and non-state stakeholders in the media sector. The programme will be a significant move towards a free and independent quality based media landscape.

For more information

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

EU delegation in Jordan:

http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/jordan/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)

Michael Mann (+32 2 299 97 80)

Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)

Eamonn Prendergast (+32 2 299 88 51)


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