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Jordan Information Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Fighting Rumors is Greatest Challenge

Jordan Information Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Fighting Rumors is Greatest Challenge

Sunday, 23 June, 2019 - 05:45
Jordan’s Information Minister Jumana Ghunaimat. (Petra news agency)
Amman – Mohammed Kheir al-Rwashida
Jordan’s Information Minister Jumana Ghunaimat acknowledged the impact social media has on the popularity of government decisions.

She also acknowledged their negative impact on officials by generating rumors that are difficult to address.

She told Asharq Al-Awsat that social media poses a challenge to traditional media reporting that follows specific professional guidelines and is based on accurate information.

With 20 years in journalism experience, Ghunaimat is the first woman to become information minister in the region.

She revealed that the government had created official platforms on social media to help combat rumors, but users are more likely to express skepticism of official accounts of events due to a long history of mistrust between the government and people.

On whether the government can legally persecute propagators of rumors, whether in the Kingdom or abroad, she said that no one is above the law, but debate is still raging on whether this issue can be tackled through legal channels.

The government does not want to infringe on public freedoms as a result of the misunderstandings of its handling of some transgressions, she stressed.

The minister said that the government was close to approving guidelines that would lead to the drafting of school textbooks that would help raise awareness among students about the negative impact of social media.

“We must realize our duty in protecting coming generations against the negative affects of such platforms that spread rumors as facts and therefore mislead the public,” she explained.

The short-term treatment of this phenomenon lies in legislative measures, but the long-term treatment lies in respecting and accepting the other and distinguishing between what is fact and what is rumor, Ghunaimat added.

Public freedoms are protected, but everyone must respect the state, its institutions and constitution, she told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The government believes in diverse media, but traditional media still has an important role in raising awareness and educating the public, she stated.

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