“Parliament and the Press” Seminar at JMI

13 Nov 2019

Amman – A seminar on “Parliament and the Press” was organized by Jordan Media Institute (JMI) to discuss the relation between Parliament and the press and the level of confidence in both sides.

Participants in the seminar, held in cooperation with the French Media Development Agency (CFI) and facilitated by JMI Dean Dr. Ziad Rifai, also discussed the essential qualifications of parliamentary correspondents.  

MP Nabil Gheishan, who participated in the seminar, said that the Lower House of Parliament “is not an accurate representation of the people”, given that voter turnout in the last Parliamentary election did not exceed 37% not to mention that money also infiltrated the election process thus affecting  voter choice, as he said.

“The press is not in a much different position from Parliament, currently,” as both lack public confidence, added the MP.

Although Parliament did a good job in the area of legislation, it did not exercise its supervisory role effectively, noted Gheishan. There is also lack of follow-up and monitoring of MPs once they win seats, as the role of voters ends with casting their votes, he lamented. The absence of watchdog journalism combined with a poor culture of electoral accountability are to blame, according to the MP.

Journalist Waleed Husni, who covers parliamentary affairs, said that the correspondent’s key role is to monitor Parliament’s performance, follow up on the details and win scoops from inside the dome. He criticized classifying parliamentary correspondents as Parliament’s partners. 

 “The relation between reporters and MPs is based on doubt,” said Husni, noting that many journalists are not sufficiently aware of the controls and laws, nor of their rights and responsibilities as parliamentary correspondents.

There is little or no confidence in Parliament, noted Gheishan. Journalists are also experiencing a state of “frustration”, along with other problems related to the House and its officials and the attitude of the latter towards journalism and reporters. Moreover, many reporters, specifically those working online, lack the experience needed.

The floor was opened for questions and answers at the end of the seminar.

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