Under the patronage of HRH Princess Reem Ali, the Jordan Media Institute (JMI) organised a conference on Wednesday titled “Drivers of Public Opinion – Role of Media and Social Media”.
In her opening remarks, the princess spoke about “the speed with which technology has transformed not only how news is reported, but especially how it is consumed”.
She noted that the way public opinion is shaped today greatly differs from the way it was shaped before the emergence of social media platforms.
The “infinite possibilities” opened by new technologies “inundated” the public “with facts and opinions on which it bases decisions about who it supports in a debate or what causes it will champion”, she said.
The princess also pointed out that the “media is a fourth column because it holds those in power accountable”.
However, Princess Reem concluded her address by raising questions like “who is holding social media and the technology accountable? And what can we do to make sure… that the public can access proper, accurate information and a variety of opinions before deciding on their own positions?”.
JMI Dean Mirna Abu Zeid also noted that the rapid development of ICT and the “ubiquity” of social networks have led to the emergence of new dynamics that influence the formation of public opinion.
This conference, organised in cooperation with the International Republican Institute (IRI), “brings together journalists and digital scholars” to analyse the new dynamics of the digital era in order to raise public awareness and encourage people to critically evaluate the information they encounter on social media, Abu Zeid added.
Also speaking during the event, Resident Programme Director of the IRI Jake Jones commented on the role of social media as a tool for both sharing and measuring information.
The conference also featured three panel discussions lead by local and foreign experts, including Mohammad Momani, a member of the Senate and a former minister of State for Media Affairs, Shahira Fahmi, a professor at the American University in Amman, and Zaid Eyadat, vice president of International Affairs, Quality and Accreditation, and director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan.
The discussions explored the impact of disinformation, misinformation and fake news on public opinion, media and the polarisation of opinion, the role of social media during pandemics and the role of the media in shaping and channelling public policy with a focus on opinion polls, commercial and political marketing, political propaganda and election campaigns.
Jordan Times : Jan 25,2023