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Ma’an, 08 April 2019 - Under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Omar Razzaz, Prime Minister of Jordan, the European Union (EU) and UNESCO Amman office officially launched the “Youth Empowerment” project, at the King Hussein Bin Talal University in Ma’an governorate.
On behalf of H.E the Prime Minister, H.E. Jumana Ghuneimat, Minister of State for Media Affairs, pointed out that the partnership between the government, donors and educators aims to promote inclusive media and information literacy among society groups, especially the youth, which the government pays the greatest attention to, and seeks to empower them in various fields to fulfill their role and achieve their ambitions.
H.E. Ghuneimat also shared that the government is seeking to develop the media landscape by establishing a credible, transparent, professional and objective national media, which provides honest information and the truth, as it seeks to restore confidence in the official media. H.E. explained that media development will be implemented through several projects, including the media and information literacy project, which will be managed by a specialized national team; and through its practical applications, such as the establishment of student clubs in schools and universities to train students, teachers and academics on media and information literacy, in partnership with many ministries and a variety of institutions.
H.E. EU Ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Andrea Matteo Fontana, thanked partners and beneficiaries for their strong engagement in raising MIL awareness across Jordan. H.E. underlined the importance of supporting media actors as partners for inclusive development and democracy. "The media plays an important role in disseminating information and shaping the public's opinion. Therefore, we commend the Jordanian Government's efforts to help Jordanian youth understand the value of information through this media literacy project, and enhance their capacity to develop their critical thinking".
The “Youth Empowerment” project represents a timely response to promoting the safe and ethical use of the media and the internet. The project works to advance Media Information Literacy (MIL) as a holistic response to fostering the informed use, consumption and production of media and internet among youth in Jordan. Implemented by the UNESCO Amman office, with strong collaboration and generous funding from the EU, the project is being carried out in cooperation with the Minister of State for Media Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the media community and civil society in Jordan.
In his welcoming address, the President of Al Hussein Bin Talal University Dr. Najib Abou Karaki, expressed his appreciation for the support from the EU and UNESCO, sharing that the university is in the process of introducing an elective Media and Information Literacy course in the Faculty of Arts/Media and Strategic Studies Department. Dr. Abou Karaki added, “Information and knowledge are paramount to achieving sustainable development and ensuring the active participation of everyone. It has become essential to know how to receive, interpret and deliver information and to protect generations and the nation from threats”.
The event included a panel discussion entitled, “Media and Information Literacy: Why it Matters”. The interactive panel discussion focused on themes including “MIL and Information Disorder”, with contributions from teachers, students, radio volunteers and representatives of civil society organizations. Participants shared ideas of how MIL can empower users to confront and challenge misinformation and disinformation, while also exploring the impact of the digital and information revolution on education processes and teaching methods of educators. The impact of MIL on youth understanding and awareness around human rights, democracy and sustainable development was considered, including how youth civil society organizations can empower youth and stimulate civic participation.
During the event, Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan, expressed her gratitude to H.E. Al Razzaz, H.E. Ghuneimat and Minister of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research, H.E. Dr.Waleed Al-Maani for their ongoing support of and contributions to the media sector.
“The essential relevance of the MIL approach is enshrined in the government priorities for 2019-2020 and reflected in the ‘Youth Empowerment’ project. I am proud to see here today, from all across Jordan, trained teachers and principals, empowered to run MIL clubs and young people eager to strengthen their MIL skills. In close collaboration with the government and key partners, UNESCO is pleased to support national authorities, schools, local radio stations and civil society organizations to implement this critical project which aims at leaving no one behind.” Ms. Farina expressed gratitude and recognition to the European Union for the strategic partnership on MIL and the generous support provided in order to ensure the success of the project.
The EU-funded “Youth Empowerment” project focuses specifically on strengthening the MIL upstream capacities of public institutions (universities and schools), media and education professionals across the Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq and Ma’an governorates, alongside key partners Jordan Media Institute (JMI) and Media Diversity International (MDI).
Following the panel, VIPs took part in an exchange with the audience before H.E. Ghuneimat, H.E. Fontana, Ms. Farina and Dr. Basim Tweissi, Dean of JMI, were presented with awards by the host, Professor Abou Karaki. H.E. Ghuneimat and H.E. Fontana concluded the event by engaging listeners on-air, during a live radio interview on Sawt al Janoub.