Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat—Jordan’s parliament ratified on Wednesday an amended version of the 2014 Press Syndicate Law, which includes articles on disciplinary procedures and redefines the qualifications required to join the journalists’ union.
Parliament approved an article which stated that “anyone who does not comply with a disciplinary decision banning them from practicing the profession [of journalism] will be punished by a specialist court with a fine of no less than 500 Jordanian dinars and no more than 1,000 Jordanian dinars,” or approximately 700 to 1,400 US dollars). The fine had previously been between 100 and 500 Jordanian dinars (approximately 150 to 700 dollars).
Parliament refused to open discussions regarding definitions of the press institutions, with this article remaining unchanged. Amman defines press institutions as “legal entities . . . such as news agencies, broadcasting [corporations] or television stations, whose operation fulfill the obligations of journalistic work in the field of media.”
The 2014 Press Syndicate Law also entrenches the ability of the Press Syndicate to protect the professional rights of its members and defend their interests.
The law allows web journalists to join the press syndicate on the condition that their online publications adhere to the spirit of Article II of the 2014 bill, which defines media institutions. Since 2012, Jordan’s news websites have been required to obtain government accreditation or face closure.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani said that it would no longer be a prerequisite for journalists to have a degree in journalism to be certified. The new bill also allows any university graduate to work as a journalist and seek to officially join the journalists’ syndicate, as can any high school graduate who has worked in the media for at least eight years.