The Jordanian government has taken a major new step towards allowing private radio and television stations to operate in the kingdom, Information Minister Taleb Rifai said on Wednesday.
"The government has decided to amend the law concerning state radio and television," which have a monopoly on the broadcast media in Jordan, Rifai said in press statements.
Afterwards the government will reserve the right to "authorize the local and foreign" private sector to open radio and television stations, Rifai said after a cabinet meeting Tuesday evening.
The amended law will soon be submitted to parliament, Rifai added.
Last week, Rifai told members of the foreign press club in Amman that it was one of King Abdullah's desires to see an independent media operate in Jordan, where a privatization drive is underway in many sectors since 1998.
The King has also spoken of the privatization of the press and broadcast media in recent foreign press interviews.
On Sunday, a senior official of the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) said his agency would back a scheme to set up the first independent radio station in Jordan.
Giovanni Boccardi said UNESCO would help finance the Arabic-language station -- the brainchild of the Noor al-Hussein Charity Organization, which will allow listeners from rural areas to tune in on a FM wavelength to programs on cultural and social issues.
Since 1998 Jordan has allowed three private radio stations -- MBC, Radio Monte-Carlo and BBC Arabic Service -- to transmit Arabic-language programs on the FM wavelength from Jordanian territory - AMMAN (AFP)
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