Newspapers in Jordan
In Jordan there are four newspapers. The largest are ad-Dustur ('The
Constitution'), with 100,000 copies, and ar-Ray ('Opinion'), with about 90,000
copies. The English-speaking The Jordan Times has about 15,000 copies. The
government has a majority share in the newspapers, and the content is considered
to be government controlled.
Radio and TV is managed by the state radio and television company Jordan
Radio and Television Corporation (JRTV, founded 1968). Radio is broadcast
in three channels, one in English and one in high reading from the Qur'an. There
are two TV channels, one of which broadcasts on eg. English and French. There
are 372 radio and 84 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).
When the British began to withdraw from what
was then Transjordan in the 1920s to 1940s, the national
Jordanian culture came to life again. In the literature,
lyric in particular came to play an important role, with
poet Heidar Mahmoud, among others.
Among the strongest poets are Radi Saddouq and Samira
al-Khatib, who are Israel-critical in their poems and
express grief over the occupation of the Palestinian
Traditional art and music are part of the general
Arab-Islamic cultural heritage. Nowadays, Jordanian
music has taken the impression of Western influences,
but in the Bedouin communities it is still possible to
experience a lonely belly dancer, accompanied by
traditional monotonous male song.
Latest population statistics of Jordan, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Several places in Jordan have been classified as a
World Heritage by the UN organization Unesco. Most
famous is the rock city of Petra, which is also a major
tourist destination. Wadi Ramm (often spelled Wadi Rum)
is a striking desert area in sandstone and granite used,
among other things, for filming, for example the British
"Laurence of Arabia" (1962). On UNESCO's waiting list
are a number of archaeological sites, including the city
of Jerash north of Amman, where there are ruins from
both Roman and Greek times. For Jordan public policy,
Pandemic rules are eased
Most restrictions imposed to limit the spread of covid-19 viral disease will
be lifted on June 6, the government announces. Mosques, churches and restaurants
are open as well as almost all business activities. Domestic travelers are
allowed. Instructions for keeping physical distance and closing schools, cinemas
and air traffic to and from abroad continue to apply. Only nine deaths have been
confirmed in Jordan, and the number of new cases of infection per day is down to
about that level.
Stronger warning to Israel
Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz warns that "all aspects" of Jordan's relations
with Israel may be reconsidered if the newly-appointed Israeli government takes
seriously its plans for annexing land on the West Bank after July 1. He accuses
Israel of using the global corona pandemic to carry out "unilateral measures on
the ground". Jordan's 1994 peace agreement with Israel has long been questioned,
especially by Jordanians who are of Palestinian origin.
Extended crisis support from the IMF
The IMF notes that Jordan's crisis has deepened since the fund approved
emergency loans to combat the corona crisis (see March 25). At
the same time as the IMF commends Jordan for swift action on the spread of
infection, the country is now getting the sign of another $ 396 million.
Royal anger against Israel's plans
15th of May
King Abdullah reacts sharply to Israel's new government plans to annex large
parts of the occupied land on the West Bank. An agreement between the parties
forming the unifying government states that annexation can take place after July
1, 2020. In an interview published by German news magazine Der Spiegel, the king
says it would lead to a "massive conflict". In addition to Egypt, Jordan is the
only Arab country to have a peace agreement with Israel. The Regent does not
clarify whether Jordan would be ready to tear up the deal. The West Bank was
ruled by Jordan for nearly 20 years and the king of the country was given an
important role also in Israel's peace process with the Palestinians in the
1990s: as guardian of the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Israel leaves border border
Israeli farmers leave the Ghumar enclave in Jordan (Tsofar in Hebrew) after a
land lease agreement from the 1990s expired. In connection with the peace
between the two countries in 1994, Israel was allowed to lease two previously
occupied Jordanian border areas. The King of Jordan announced in 2018 that the
rent would not be extended. The second Baqura enclave was evacuated by Israel in
the fall of 2019 (see October 21, 2018 and November 10,
Clear sign of crisis package from the IMF
The IMF approves a planned aid package for Jordan (see January 30).
It is a four-year loan program that includes $ 1.3 billion, of which $ 140
million will be paid out immediately. The need for money has increased as a
result of the spread of coronavirus, the fund notes.
Freedom of movement is restricted in the fight against viruses
Curfew is introduced with reference to the risk that the coronavirus pandemic
will take hold in Jordan. Anyone who switches to the ban, which applies both day
and night, risks one year in prison. Opening hours for stores are limited. The
government has set up a system for home deliveries of supplies in collaboration
between municipalities and transport companies in order to prevent citizens from
avoiding public outcry. Already three days after the curfew was introduced,
authorities state that 880 people have broken the ban. 112 cases of covid-19
disease have been confirmed, and no deaths are known.
Qatar promises jobs and pension money
Qatar's Head of State Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visits Jordan and promises
10,000 jobs for Jordanians in Qatar "in addition to as many as promised in
2018", according to the state news agency QNA. Almost every fifth Jordanian is
unemployed and 15 percent are estimated to live in poverty. King Abdullah's
visit is seen as a sign that relations have improved since Jordan cut its
diplomatic presence when neighboring countries boycotted Qatar in 2017. Qatar
also promises to contribute $ 30 million to pensions for Jordan's military
Tunnels under Old Jerusalem
The Israeli Ministry of Transport announces that a new railway line has been
approved for the high-speed train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The site is
located in the central city, which Israel entered into war in 1967. Next to it
are also Muslim and Christian shrines. Jordan, whose king has a role as the
supreme protector of the holy places, condemns the plans.
Agreement on support loans from the IMF
30th of January
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Jordanian government have
agreed on the terms of a four-year support package worth $ 1.3 billion to
stabilize the Jordanian economy. The loans require Jordan to take a number of
measures, including reducing government subsidies to the public so that they are
only paid to households that really need them and to create a more favorable
investment climate, for example through lower electricity costs for businesses.
Priority is given to measures to get young people into work. According to
forecasters, the Jordanian economy will grow by 2.1 percent in 2020.
Protests against gas deals with Israel
Parliament votes to stop purchases of natural gas from Israel. Imports have
begun very recently, in connection with Israel's use of the Leviathan gas field.
Both Egypt and Jordan have signed a 15-year agreement with Israel, but in Jordan
the agreement has led to street protests. Although the country made peace with
Israel in the 1990s, many see Israel as a hostile nation, especially as the
occupation of Palestinian land continues. (Before Israel entered the West Bank
and East Jerusalem in 1967, the territories had Jordanian supremacy.) The bill
that Parliament voted for must also be approved by the government in order to
take effect. Jordan, which is poor in resources, imports 98 percent of its