Written by Katja Andreasen
Citizenship, Election Laws and Transparency: These are just some of the topics that will be discussed in Radio Al-Balad’s new talk show targeting governance issues.
The room is small and crowded. Jingles keep being played in high and low tunes. A man is sitting in front of a large black apparatus with loads of buttons. He is monitoring the news that is being presented by a woman on the other side of the big glass window. And even though a cool breeze is coming from the air condition, the air is thick of expectations.
We are at the Radio Al-Balad’s newsroom. Today is a special day. It is the first time the radio will broadcast a program about governance issues. It is not just the first time for Radio Al-Balad; it is the first time that any radio station is addressing these issues.
ActionAid and Radio Al-Balad have together in a partnership initiated the talk show “Your Decisions.” The program aims at creating massive awareness on the numerous governance issues that Jordan faces. Each week different influential people will guests the studio and listeners can call in to ask questions or raise issues. The program wants to be a platform where issues can be identified and essentially the talks will lead to action.
Give a voice to the voiceless
Hamza Al-Soud is the project officer at Radio Al-Balad and he sees this project as both necessary and challenging.
“The decentralization law has been a step forward towards democracy, but it’s only the first step. It shows the importance of more focus on and talking about governance. The idea of getting calls from listeners simplifies the show and makes sure to give a voice to the voiceless,” he says.
Since this is the first show that addresses these issues, Hamza Al-Soud finds it hard to predict what the reactions are going to be.
“Speaking about governance can be sensitive when you go into details. But in general it is okay to raise critique. We still have to take some precautions, but we don’t know really what to expect,” he adds. Is there no governance in Jordan?
Amani Hammad is the Head of Regional Program, Arab Regional Initiative in ActionAid. She is going to be the first guests in the show. She believes that the show can be utilized as a platform to bring in the youth and eventually they can start the dialogue with the authorities.
“We think there really is a limited knowledge on governance. Often people say that we have no governance in Jordan. But we actually do have structures; the question is how effective they are, ” she says.
The shows will run until January and Amani Hammad believes that it may form a great success. “By the end of this, we hope that people’s understanding and awareness have been increased and that they know how they can affect their lives,” she adds.
While the air is still heavy here, people have been preparing the final details. The door opens to the glass room and Amani Hammad takes seat in the studio. One deep inhalation and the show is on.
For more information, follow the ‘Your Decisions’ talk show every Tuesday from 6-7pm on Radio Al-Balad.