Red cross red crescent movement introduces humanitarian awards for practicing journalists in Jordan

The humanitarian award aims to promote reporting on humanitarian issues in Jordanian media and through it, reward journalists who are putting people in the spotlight of their stories on humanitarian concerns —Sandra Tettamanti, Head of ICRC Delegation in Jordan
Article 20 June 2021 Jordan

When armed conflict, violence, or disasters occur, lives are lost, property destroyed, people go missing, and many are scarred physically and psychologically. This huge human toll and the circumstances surrounding them are brought to the knowledge of many around the world by the media, whose role in this regard is therefore crucial. For example, the huge cost of the COVID 19 pandemic has not only been aptly captured by the press but updates are being provided regularly to situate the unfolding situation in the consciousness of policymakers and family members, and loved ones.

It could be argued therefore that without such comprehensive media reportage, the public (inclusive of policymakers, donors, volunteers, families of those affected, etc.) would not have the right information to enable them to understand the issues in focus or to make informed decisions. In effect, the role of the media in the reportage of humanitarian issues is critical and cannot be overemphasized. When they play this role creditably, they also ought to be encouraged to maintain such an approach and even to improve on it.

The media has been a strong ally of humanitarian organizations in fostering public understanding of the dynamics of conflict and disasters. In trying to access difficult places and report accurately on these phenomena in 2020, 50 journalists were unfortunately killed, including in countries “at peace,” according to Reporters Without Borders. While this is a huge price to pay, it is rather surprising that the noble effort of journalists in reporting humanitarian crises is hardly acknowledged, being seemingly taken for granted.

Jordan is an important country that hosts a huge number of refugees and continues to play an important role in the resolution of conflict in the Middle East and beyond. The media in the country can also be a strong ally of humanitarian organizations present in Jordan in helping to advance their work. It is in recognition of this and to further inspire greater reportage of humanitarian issues that the ICRC, JPA, and JRCS have teamed up to organize the first Humanitarian Awards for practicing journalists in Jordan.

Key members of the partnership have posted videos on social media encouraging participation by members of the media. Speaking on the awards, Sandra Tettamanti, Head of the ICRC Delegation in Jordan, said that “the humanitarian award aims to promote reporting on humanitarian issues in Jordanian media and through it, reward journalists who are putting people in the spotlight of their stories on humanitarian concerns.” Furthermore, she said that through the awards, the organizers hope to “create synergies between the Jordanian media and the humanitarian community in Amman and help shape the debate on important humanitarian issues.” 

The competition is in two categories: the best story on a humanitarian subject and the best photo on a humanitarian subject as produced and published by Jordanian journalists. Entries are open to journalists who belong to the JPA or the Media Commission and will close on September 7, 2021.