Support to Strengthening public communications: building and equipping an effective network of government spokespersons

January 30, 2023

H.E Minister of Government Communications Faisal Shboul and Randa Aboul-Hosn UNDP Jordan Resident Representative

UNDP Jordan

Amman, January 29 – Minister of Government Communication Faisal Shboul Sunday said that empowering spokespersons at public institutions has been institutionalised and a priority to the Ministry of Government Communication to ensure the flow of information to the press and the people because this is a public right.

In a regular meeting with ministry spokespersons at the Jordan News Agency, Shboul said the Ministry of Government Communication is responsible for empowering spokespersons by supporting the institutional status of media departments and their training needs. The meeting was attended by Director General pf Jordan News Agency Petra Fairouz Mbaideen and Secretary General of the Ministry of Government Communication Zaid Al-Nawaiseh.

The Minister added the training programme for ministry spokespersons in 2022 that was organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme UNDP and Jordan Media Institute strengthened their role by training them to provide information to their target audience with more flexibility and prompt response.

He noted that the primary role of spokespersons is to provide information to the media and counter misinformation and fake news adding that rumour observatories indicated a decrease in the number of monthly rumours in the past year from 50 to 30 with the hope that the number would further decrease with efforts to increase information flow.

He said the Ministry of Government Communication developed a plan to train 75 spokespersons in addition to officials in media departments and units in government institutions this year and next year. He underlined the significant role of government communication officials in supporting the implementation of the public sector modernization road map.

The Ministry completed a draft of the government's media policy and would share it with the Jordanian Press Association, editors-in-chief of daily newspapers, journalists, academics, international organisations like UNDP, spokespersons and government communication officials for discussion in order to improve it and ensure consensus, he added.

The Ministry is focusing on media and information education underlining the role of media spokespersons in this regard by keeping pace with the efforts of the National Center of Curriculum in promoting relevant concepts at universities and institutes and emphasizing the difference between the media outlets that work in accordance with relevant legislation and codes of honor and the social media that needs more regulation he said.

Jordan proposed to the League of Arab States a draft law that regulates work with key international media companies, the Minister noted. The draft law is aimed at regulating the Arabic content on social media platforms and address the negative impact of these platforms in terms of misinformation, hate speech, violation of privacy and ban of content and accounts that support the just Palestinian cause as well as compensating the Arab media outlets for missing profit in the advertising market.

He lauded the UNDP efforts in designing and implementing the Strategic Media and Communication Capacities of the Government of Jordan Support project in cooperation with the Jordan Media Institute, empowering ministry spokespersons and supporting the government communication.

UNDP Jordan Resident Representative Randa Aboul-Hosn said the project was launched because of the challenges facing the government communication and the important role of ministry spokespersons in conveying Jordan's messages since they are "the voice of confidence."

Aboul Hosn noted that the government’s efforts include how to deliver the media message to recipients, so, the clearer and better directed the message is, the more effective the communication will be.

UNDP Resident Representative stated that UNDP Jordan has today completed an important phase of the project by providing ministry spokespersons with technical and digital empowerment kit that enables them to more efficiently and effectively perform their duties.

At the end of the meeting, the ministry spokespersons were given the technical and digital empowerment kit that was developed with the UNDP Jordan support. The kit is aimed to assist them to perform their duties of prompt response, contacting media outlets and organising direct online media meetings using modern technical tools.