The EU Support to Jordanian Democratic Institutions & Development (EU JDID) and the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) co-organised a conference under the title "Social Media and Politics" in The University of Jordan in Amman, on 21st-22nd January 2019.
The event, which gathered a number of international and Jordanian experts, media professionals, political figures and activists, among others, aimed to discuss and understand social media as a tool among others to communicate, get informed and do politics. Through various roundtables and Q&A sessions, the participants sought to unveil the best ways to use social media in politics and to maximise its role in expanding Jordanians' social awareness, especially among youth, at a time when Jordan's public and political life are widely impacted by the rise of social media platforms.
Fake news, rumours, diffamation and misinformation but also freedom of expression, public debate and political awareness were some of the topics tackled by the experts over these two days.
Speakers also insisted on social media's role as platforms for dialogue to promote values of tolerance, renunciation of violence and hatred, and to preserve nations' cultural identity and societal values.
According to CSS Director, Musa Shteiwi, social media of all kinds are nowadays used by a large majority of society. Statistics for the year 2018 showed that 80% of Jordanians use smart phones. And 79% of those aged 18 years old and above use Internet on a daily basis (Arab Barometer study conducted by CSS). Of those, 78% said they use Facebook, 8% use Twitter, 20% use Internet searches, and 38% use YouTube.
Topics covered during the sessions included "framing the political discussion on social media", "political interaction on social media", "youth participation on social media", "social media at election time", "informing citizens through social media" and 'information and social media literacy".
This event is part of EU-JDID’s efforts to support Jordan's reform process towards democracy consolidation and the promotion of inclusiveness of national policy and decision-making processes. With a special emphasis on women and youth, we strive to foster a stronger democratic and tolerant political culture and to deepen the role of civil society.