April 2007

Community radio and freedom of expression

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The use of community radio in the Arab world is a revolutionary development idea. “The idea occurred to me during a conference of the International Press Institute(IPI)”, says Daoud Kuttab,  the founder of AmmanNet.

Introduction

Being one of fifty recepients of the 'Freedom of Press Heroes' award by (International Press Institute) IPI,  Kuttab was invited to attend a regional conference entitled 'Freedom of expression and Media' in Jordan, which was held in the capital, Amman, on 5th of February 2000. One of the speakers at the conference was the Minster of Information, Saleh Qallab. He spoke about the reforms taking place in Jordan and he mentioned, among other things, that his ministry had succeeded in removing all roadblocks, that were being faced previously, for the dissemination of Internet technologies.

Kuttab stated that he had previously helped to establish a unique Arab web site, amin.org. This site was based  on the concept that only through the Internet can one break the physical obstacles that Arab regimes place on print materials, especially because the press in most Arab countries  is free about the news of all other Arab countries except it's own. Using the Internet to break up the radio monopolies in the Arab world intrigued the award winning Kuttab. Radio in the Arab world has been a state monopoly since the  proliferation of radio and the independence of most Arab countries. Radio and TV stations are well protected by national forces because in many cases in the past, when a coup  took place, radio was one of the first institutions to be taken over and used to issue the first communiqu

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