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About Us

Center for the Protection of Freedom of Journalists

The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists [CDFJ] was established in 1998 as a civil society organization working to defend media freedom in Jordan. CDFJ was established after a series of major setbacks to press freedom on a local level, starting with the issuing of the temporary press and publications law of 1997, which increased restrictions on the media and caused many newspapers to shut down.

CDFJ works to protect freedom and democracy in Jordan and the Arab world, while promoting respect for human rights, justice, equality, development, non-violence and open dialogue.

CDFJ always maintains its independence and does not take sides in the political process. However, when it comes to defending the freedom of journalists and the media, CDFJ stands against all policies and legislations that may impose restrictions on a free and thriving press.

CDFJ is active on a regional level in developing media freedom and strengthening the skills and professionalism of journalists in all Arab countries through customized programs and activities. Additionally, CDFJ works with media and civil society organizations to protect democracy and promote respect for human rights principles.

Center message

The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. CDFJ defends media freedom and provides protection to Arab journalists by addressing violations to their rights, providing professional development and ensuring free access to information. Finally, CDFJ advocates for reform of legislation that restricts press freedom and works to foster a political, social and cultural environment that supports a free and independent media.

Center vision

Developing and strengthening democracy and the reform process in the Arab World in a manner that supports freedom of expression and the media and that ensures commitment to international standards in press freedom.

The main objectives of the center:

Supporting free and independent media and journalists

Providing protection and security to journalists and addressing violations to their rights

Strengthening the professionalism of the media and promoting the role of the media in defending democracy, liberty and reform.

Developing a legislative, political, social and cultural environment supportive of the media.

CDFJ strategies and mechanisms:

Training

includes all that can build and improve the professional capabilities of journalists including legal protection training on how to deal with laws and legislation and specialized training on information technology. Finally, CDFJ offers training on human rights principals and practices and democratic reform.

Research Studies

CDFJ works on issuing research studies and reports that focus on media and contribute to the development of media in Jordan and the Arab World.

Legal assistance to journalists

includes providing legal support and consultations to the journalists who face trial for publication, audio, video, or electronic press charges. CDFJ also provides legal defense at courts through specialized media lawyers. Finally CDFJ’s legal assistance litigation to hold media freedom violators accountable before legal system.

Advocacy and campaigning

includes working with the members of parliament and executive authorities and other groups on amending legislation and policies that restrict the practice of free journalism. Within its programs, CDFJ advocates for the formation of joint committees comprising journalists and MP’s to discuss controversial issues and devise solutions. The center also uses electronic and conventional outlets to advance its campaigns and introduce them to the local community.

Monitoring and documentation

CDFJ works on monitoring and documentation of violations committed against journalists and media in Jordan in particular and the Arab world in general. Most notably, CDFJ has issued an annual report on media freedom status in Jordan since 2002. The report is considered the only comprehensive analysis of the media situation in Jordan, and the most specialized report on media in the region.

Specialized publications and practical guides

include handbooks and publications on the principles of legal assistance to journalist and the international standards governing the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. This is in addition to cartoon booklets promoting press freedoms and human rights. Finally, CDFJ publications also include guides for journalists and parliamentarians in the form of easy-to-use booklets and CD’s.

Conferences and forums

CDFJ holds conferences and forums on a regular basis. These events, attended by journalists and activists from the region and beyond, foster open dialogue on critical and current issues of key importance for journalists. These events usually attract huge audiences and media coverage, in addition to interest from local and international civil society organizations.

Exchange and Networking

CDFJ is keen to establish networks and adopt exchange program between Jordanian and Arab Journalists and to design programs for media exchange on the regional and international level to improve press and media experiences.

FAQ

CDFJ Pillars:

The Goals of this Pillar include:

  • Improving journalists’ legal awareness and enhancing their skills in dealing with legislation that restricts the media.
  • Professional development for lawyers specialized in defending media and freedom of expression cases.
  • Providing assistance and legal support to journalists and media organizations.
  • Developing drafts of alternative media related legislation.
  • Strengthening the rule of law and ensuring just trials in freedom of expression cases.
  • Strengthening the role of the judiciary in protecting freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
  • Reducing violations committed against journalists.
  • Holding media freedom violators accountable through local and international legal mechanisms.

This Pillar includes the following programs and projects:

  • The Media Legal Aid Unit[MELAD]
  • The Media Violations Monitoring Program SANAD]
  • The Media and Judiciary Program

The Goals of this Pillar include:

  • Professional development for journalists.
  • Supporting and encouraging specialization in different fields of media.
  • Developing journalists’ skills in utilizing new technologies.
  • Building the professional and practical skills of media and journalism students.
  • Supporting independent media organizations in providing professional media content.
  • Assisting journalists access information and decision makers.
  • Strengthening opportunities of dialogue between Arab and foreign journalists through exchange programs.
  • Developing the awareness of journalists on human rights principles, and developing their writing skills in the human rights field.
  • Encouraging journalists to cover gender issues.

This Pillar includes the following programs and projects:

  • Specialized local and regional professional development programs.
  • The Media and Human Rights program
  • The Media Forum Program
  • The Media Exchange Program

The Goals of this Pillar include:

  • Urging governments to adopt more open policies towards free media, and working with parliament to review and ratify alternative laws that protect media freedom and conform to international standards.
  • Strengthening communication between the media, parliament, the judiciary, civil society, and other sectors of society to create a better atmosphere for media freedom.
  • Involving the youth in efforts to protect freedom of expression and free media.
  • Integrating freedom of expression and freedom of media principles in the educational system.
  • Strengthening the role of activists and celebrities in defending freedom of the media.
  • Strengthening the partnership between the media and civil society in defending freedom and human rights.

This Pillar includes the following programs and projects:

  • The Parliamentary Media Forum.
  • The Freedom Messengers Program.
  • Empowering Media Skills of Non-Governmental Organization.
  • Newspaper in Education Program (NIE)
Center for the Protection of Freedom of Journalists

CDFJ’s Organizational Structure:

The board of directors is considered the highest authority in CDFJ, the membership consists of public figures that specialize in different areas of media, civil rights, public service, and civil society. The members of the board contribute their time and effort to CDFJ voluntarily. Board members receive no financial compensation or reward.

The board of directors sets the general policies of CDFJ and chooses the initiatives that CDFJ pledges to work on in freedom of media and protection of journalists.

The board of directors consists of nine members including the executive president of CDFJ who runs the day-to-day operations with the CDFJ team and contributes to setting future work plans and programs.