As Jordanian voters went to the polls on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks offered comprehensive coverage on television, radio and online and connected audiences in 22 Arabic-speaking countries to the Jordanian electoral process with live reporting, in-depth discussions, and interactive media. MBN’s journalists explained to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa the importance of the elections, and brought them up-to-date news and analysis throughout the election process that took place via a new and untested electoral system based on proportional representation.
Alhurra’s coverage featured a variety of interviews and reports on Jordan’s significant new changes to its election law, the achievements of the Jordanian legislature, the current challenges ahead of Jordanians, the presence of women in decision-making roles, economic reform, unemployment, and Jordan’s stability amid regional wars and an ever-growing refugee crisis.
Alhurra’s daily political talk show Free Hour travelled to Jordan to air special episodes for three days, during which human rights activists, Islamic political leaders, politicians and academics discussed the most pressing matters in the elections including routine complaints of corruption, youth activism, voter turnout and the validity of polls, the return of the Muslim Brotherhood to the electoral process, the principles and priorities of the political parties, and the internal and security challenges. Alhurra’s flagship program Al Youm discussed the representation of women and their involvement in all aspects of Jordanian life. The program hosted Rawan Al-Assaf, a female candidate from the 5th district of Amman, who expressed hope that a female candidate would win in her city to achieve more progress on women’s rights and their active role in Jordanian life.
Radio Sawa kept listeners abreast of the Jordanian elections through its news reports and interviews with analysts and candidates. Free Zone examined the participation of the Islamic Action Front, Jordan’s main opposition party and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, and discussed the reasons behind the change of the electoral law in Jordan. Sawa Magazine examined how women candidates run their campaigns and the challenges facing them.
Radio Sawa’s coverage included interviews with Khaled Al Kalaldeh, president of the Independent Elections Commission of Jordan; Amal Zaza, female candidate and spokeswomen for the all-women list of Ladies of Jordan; Nour Thatha, another woman candidate; as well as Zaki Bani Rashid, spokesman for the Islamic Action Front.
Online, MBN’s digital platforms highlighted the political reforms in Jordan by introducing a proportional representation model in a political system dominated by tribal blocs and concerned mainly with local interests. Alhurra’s Facebook page live-steamed reports to engage with online users on topics such as the impact of Islamic parties and the Muslim Brotherhood on the democratic process in Jordan, the participation of women in the Jordanian parliament, election results, as well as general information about the electoral process.