Statement regarding the Netherlands funded refugee station in Mafraq
During the past days, there have been posts, and statements that were not accurate and have indirectly involved our organization Community Media Network/Radio al Balad and AmmanNet. Therefore, we feel it is our responsibility to set the record straight:
Community Media Network (CMN) is a not-for-profit company established in 2007. The chair of our board and co-owner was the late Jordanian novelist, Elias Farkouh.
Our work has been focused on raising awareness through community media.
After the death of our chair, Dr. Muhanad El Azzeh was elected as our new chair.
More than a year ago we were contacted by a journalist from the Netherlands who is the CEO of Ref FM (refuges FM) an organization that sets up nonpolitical local radio stations aimed at refugees. He asked if we are willing to work with them to set up a station aimed at Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp.
We contacted all relevant parties in Mafraq, both humanitarian, local leadership and security personnel. They all welcomed the idea.
Our Director General, Daoud Kuttab, and the Chief Operating Officer who also runs Radio al Balad, Ms. Etaf Roudan, approached the director of the Media Commission, Mr. Tariq Abu Raghib, to inquire initially if he thought the idea would work. He enthusiastically welcomed the idea and encouraged us to apply. We also contacted Media Affairs Minister Mr. Faisal Shboul who likewise encouraged us to apply.
We applied, fulfilled all needed documents, made the necessary cash deposits and waited.
For months we received no answer to a request to establish a small 200-watt humanitarian nonpolitical station solely for refugees.
Our partners in Holland, REF FM, repeatedly asked us about the status of our application and we were unable to answer them because the Media Commission would not answer us.
Finally in recent weeks we received a verbal answer from the Media Commission that a committee had rejected our proposal. We asked for a letter to this effect, but we were told no letter would be coming.
We naturally informed our partners who have contacted the Ambassador.
We didn’t participate in the meeting of the Netherlands ambassador with the Media Minister and learned about it from social media.
It is important to note here that Jordan’s media commission allows and even encourages foreign funding and even ownership to broadcast media.
Community effort, especially in the media field, is costly. Our organization is a civil society organization that is a founding member of the HIMAM coalition. We work on securing local, regional and international funding in order to ensure our work is done in a professional manner. We are committed to Jordanian law and our work has proven to all the professionalism and credibility of our work.
In fact, CMN, and our media outlets, have recently been awarded the Journalism Trust Initiative Certification. We are the first such media outlet to receive this prestigious award, which we are proud of.
We call on those wanting more details about our work to check with us or to visit our home page www.communitymedianetwork.org or www.ammannet.net/aboutus Everything we do, all our work is publicly and transparently on display.
The Management of Community Media Network
Amman on October 20th, 2022