Jordan - Media



Public communications and broadcasting facilities are government controlled. Telephone and telegraph facilities were introduced soon after World War II. Telephone service, at first rudimentary, was expanded in the 1950s; in 1998 Jordan had 425,000 telephones, mostly in 'Amman and the larger towns. In 1995, there were 11,500 cellular phones in use nationwide.

All radio and television broadcasts are controlled by the government. Radio Jordan transmits AM and FM broadcasts in English, and the television stations broadcast programs in English, Arabic, French, and Hebrew on two channels. As of 1999, there were 6 AM and 5 FM radio stations. In 1995 there were 20 television stations. In 2000 there were 372 radios and 84 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were five Internet service providers, serving 210,000 subscribers by 2001.

Jordan's four major daily newspapers (with 2002 estimated daily circulations) are Al-Dustour ( Constitution , 100,000), Al-Rai ( Opinion , 90,000), Sawt Ash-Shaab ( Voice of the People, 30,000), and Jordan Times (15,000). All except the English-language Jordan Times are in Arabic; all are published in 'Amman and are owned and operated by the private sector. Al-Rai is a government-controlled paper, founded after the 1970–71 civil war; Al-Dustour is 25% government owned. There are also weeklies and less frequent publications published in Arabic in 'Amman. One weekly, The Star, is published in English. The press code, enacted in 1955, requires all newspapers to be licensed and prohibits the publishing of certain information, mainly relating to Jordan's national security, unless taken directly from material released by the government.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; however, in practice there are some significant restrictions on these rights. Private citizens can be prosecuted for slandering the Royal Family, and the Press and Publication Law of 1993 restricts the media coverage of 10 subjects, including the military, the royal family, and economic policy.

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