With the widespread use of English in public life, you’ll have good access to news while in Jordan. International newspapers and magazines are on sale, the local English-language press is burgeoning and satellite TV is widespread. The internet is not censored.
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Among the region’s conservative and often state-owned Arabic press, Jordan’s newspapers, all of which are independently owned, have a reputation for relatively well-informed debate, although strict press laws – and the slow process of media liberalization – cause much controversy. The two biggest dailies, ad-Dustour (“Constitution”) and al-Ra’i (“Opinion”), are both centrist regurgitators of government opinion; al-Ghad (“Tomorrow”) has a fresher outlook. There’s a host of other dailies and weeklies, ranging from the sober to the sensational. Local news websites abound.
English-language newspapers are widely available from the kiosks in all big hotels and also from some bookshops, as well as online: unlike elsewhere in the region, Jordan does not censor the internet. The International Herald Tribune and most British dailies and Sundays generally arrive one or two days late (JD2 and upwards). Look out for excellent regional papers such as Abu Dhabi’s The National (w thenational.ae), Beirut’s Daily Star (w dailystar.com.lb) and Cairo’s Al-Ahram Weekly (w weekly.ahram.org.eg).
For local news in English, the Jordan Times (w jordantimes.com) is published daily except Saturdays, featuring national news, agency reports and pro-government comment. Jordan’s citizen journalism website w 7iber.com (pronounced hibber – it means “ink”) runs a more enticing mix of stories in Arabic and English, as well as useful what’s-on information. One key local news blog is w black-iris.com, while w BeAmman.com collates news, reviews and opinions about life in Jordan’s capital city.
There’s a lively market for Jordanian magazines, with a range of English-language monthlies including quirky JO (w jo.jo), mixing lifestyle features with investigative reporting on social and environmental issues, glossy Living Well (w livingwell.jo), and sober Venture (w venture-mag.com) and Jordan Business (w jordan-business.net). Plenty of international magazines are available, from Cosmopolitan to The Economist.
TV and radio
Jordan TV isn’t up to much. Almost all hotels have satellite TV, featuring CNN, BBC World News, Al Jazeera English, plus a few movies and sitcoms in English, alongside dozens of Arabic, European and Asian channels.
As well as stations devoted to Quranic recitation, local news, phone-ins, contemporary pop and old-time crooners, Amman has several English-language music radio stations playing Western hits, including Sunny 105.1 and Play 99.6.