(Jordan Times ) – For the first time in the Arab world, a community radio station is being established in Amman via the Internet. The Arab Media Institute, in association with UNESCO, began the technical and human resource preparations for a community radio station in and about Amman. The station will broadcast via the Internet on a dedicated web site www.ammannet.net .
On Saturday, 15 Jordanians began a three-week intensive course at UNESCO headquarters with the hope of being the core staff of this ground-breaking project. Aref Hajawi, a former BBC Arabic staffer and a trainer at the Bir Zeit University's radio training department, began the first week of training. Francisco Diaso, a veteran community radio trainer and broadcaster from Italy, will carry out training for computer-based editing and radio webcasting.
Project Director Daoud Kuttab says the station was first suggested during the International Press Institute conference held in Amman last March. “I was talking to representatives from AMARC, the federation of community radio stations, about the idea when we heard from then-Minister of Information Saleh Qallab that all barriers had been removed for Jordanians to use the Internet. I announced at the conference that I will be working on setting up the first community radio station in Amman.”
Khuzaima Jallad, UNESCO's communications specialist, welcomed the idea calling it “pioneering” and noting that community radio is one of the primary objectives of UNESCO's communication strategy. “We support every community radio endeavour around the world so long as it is within the laws of the country,” he said. Jallad also noted that UNESCO is willing to support this idea to go on terrestrial airwaves once the new Jordanian government prepares the proper legal structures.
Kuttab explained that this idea of a community radio in Amman is based on two main principles. “We don't want to get involved in the larger political issues and we want to do as many field reports about day to day life in Amman.” He noted that the local press gives little attention to local issues.
According to Kuttab, the Greater Amman Municipality has been approached and is looking favourably to cosponsor the project. Ammannet will be an interactive web site. Reporters' stories will be broadcast in text, audio as well as still photography. It is expected to launch in August or September.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )