The economic downturn left many industries in disarray with newspapers bearing the brunt of financial storm. Regional dailies were not immune to the catastrophic blend of downturn and the rise of electronic media as well. The Jordan’s daily newspapers are among victims of falling ad revenues and high production and distribution costs, reports Asharq Al-Awsat.
Many Jordanian newspapers are experiencing problems meeting their payroll obligations, and are delaying salary payments, resulting in complaints and protests by staff at a time of growing living expenses.
Following a meeting with editors of major Jordanian newspapers including Al Dostour, Al Rai, Al Arab Alyawm and Al Ghad Tareq Momani the head of Syndicate of Jordanian journalists said in a statement, That Jordanian newspapers suffering from the high cost of production and printing on one hand and the shrinking advertising revenues on the other hand and their very existence hangs in the balance. Now it’s clear the effects of global economic downturn is here to stay. As if this is not enough Jordanian government is also not supporting the battered newspaper industry.
During the meeting editors of the newspapers called for government support and demanded that newspaper industry be exempted from taxes and governmental fees, which currently is as high as 16% of their income. On top of it the custom duties for paper import adds to overall cost of newspapers.
The statement said that the chief editors of daily newspapers are urging government to take “bold steps by supporting local newspapers, offering them tax relief.”
Meanwhile The General Authority of the Jordanian Company for Press and Publication has provided Al Dostour with JMD 5 million of assistance, the equivalent of USD 7 million, from private and voluntary reserves to make up for the accumulated losses.
Despite the role of the boom of online news websites in Jordan in the shrinking revenues of the country’s print media, it is not the only culprit.
There are many factors that are causing the closure of more and more daily newspapers, and threatening the financial viability of others over the next ten years. Most notably, these factors include the decline in advertising and distribution, and the falling revenue of commercial printing presses.