JMI Organizes Dialogue on Election Participation and the Media in Jordan Al-Kalaldah: The media is the eye of the people in elections and needs sufficient experience

27 Nov 2019

Amman 26 November – In partnership with the French Agency for Media Cooperation and in cooperation with the European Union Support Program for the Jordanian Democratic Institutions and Development, Jordan Media Institute (JMI) organized a seminar entitled "Election Participation and the Media." The event hosted the Chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Dr. Khalid Al-Kalaldah.

During the seminar that was held at JMI on Tuesday and attended by a number of JMI students, media outlets and interested individuals, Al-Kalaldah said that the media in the election process is more than an observer and is the eye of the people. He said that what is sometimes worrisome is the lack of sufficient experience in covering the elections. He highlighted how important it is for those covering the election process to distinguish between the concepts, names and expressions governing that process. For example, it is significant to know the difference between "elector" and "voter," and that the desert areas (Bawadi) are not on the quota system. These are the kinds of mix-ups media coverage sometimes falls into, he said, noting that reporting on the elections requires knowledge and experience in its laws and mechanisms.

Dr. Al-Kalaldah presented the history of parliamentary and municipal elections in the Jordanian state noting that the Jordanian society is young and change can take place in it smoothly. He added that elections represent a critical stage in state formation, noting that each country devises a system that serves its population composition and takes into consideration the presence of all classes in society.

He explained the mechanism with which the IEC operates and how open it is to the media. He said that although bureaucracy is one of the strongest obstacles the IEC faces, it still succeeded to take decisive measures to safeguard integrity and transparency. He noted that the IEC has the right to comment on election laws and to submit its notes and comments regarding the election law to the cabinet of ministers in writing in case the latter decides to amend the law in the future.

AL-Kalaldah noted how youth are at the forefront of the current stage, and added that although there have been youth parties since the 1950s, they were never effective. However, attention is now being focused on them especially since the figures of the last election process indicate they are participating strongly.

He noted that the IEC is active with youth and has signed cooperation agreements with a number of Jordanian universities and the "We Are All Jordan" authority and the "Crown Prince Foundation" to train them in elections and increase election awareness among them.

He affirmed that voting in the election process will remain manual on paper until people's confidence is regained. Every Jordanian who completed 17 years of age will be entered in the voter lists by the Civil Status Department. The lists will be refined and presented publicly for a period of time for the purpose of more integrity and high transparency.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Al-Kalaldah called on JMI students to visit him and examine the procedure the Commission follows in the field of preparing for the elections.

Dr. Ziad Rifai, JMI's Dean, concluded the seminar saying that this meeting is one of profound importance and that the Institute organizes such events to assist media professionals and interested parties to cooperate in bringing the election reality to people, to spread awareness and to reinforce the spirit of participation in the elections.


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