2. News Services
3. Stages of Petra's
Jordan News Agency (PETRA) has witnessed important developments on
technical and professional levels since it was first established in
1969, as an independent body linked to the Ministry of Information.
The Royal Decree by virtue of which PETRA was established stated that
the mission of PETRA is to "achieve the goals of the Jordanian media by
covering news and transmitting them both inside and outside Jordan
through proper technical means".
Petra's news bulletins reflect the diversity of opinions in Jordanian
society and further the cause of democracy in the Kingdom.
PETRA started with 32 employees, 18 of them were journalists who
provided an evening news bulletin typed in both Arabic and English, and
disseminated to all those concerned: media, press, Arab and foreign
embassies and some ministries and government departments.
PETRA increased its daily working hours to 18, including Fridays and
official holidays. However, it can work around the clock in times of
emergency. The staffs also increased to reach 238 employees, 135 of them
are journalists who enjoy membership of the Jordan Press Association (JPA).
PETRA is a fully-fledged professional body that participated
actively in the inception of the JPA.
PETRA is an active member in the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA),
and the Non-Aligned Countries' News Agencies Pooling.
It has correspondents in Cairo, Copenhagen, New York, Tokyo, Bonn,
Paris, Gaza, Ramallah, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Moscow, London, Kuwait,
Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Sana'a and Bucharest, Baghdad, Manama and Beirut.
PETRA became an independent entity in June 2004, following the
dissolvement of the Ministry of Information. A special ordinance was
enacted to give PETRA financial and administrative independence and to
specify the powers of the Agency's Council and those of the
The new ordinance grants the agency the right to sell some of its
services to willing subscribers.
The ordinance defines services that could be sold as:
Items in the
photos, news and documents archives,
services requested by local and foreign organizations,
Services of the
T.V unit and leasing its equipments,
press and technical training.
its Internet site.
PETRA provides news services in Arabic and English on its main
outlet. The average Arabic daily news dispatches is 70-90, whereas this
stands at 20-30 news items for the English bulletin. These figures might
change according to daily events and activities inside and outside
Petra's bulletin is aired on its website. The number of visitors to the
website stands at 3-4 million monthly. It reached 7 million in March
PETRA provides photos of the daily events and activities covered on its
website. It provides direct dispatches to 22 subscribers, including Arab
and foreign news agencies' offices in Amman and agencies with which it
has signed agreements such as the Qatari, Yemeni and Syrian news
In 1997, PETRA started a TV filming and editing unit funded by
the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that is part of a
studio. In early 2005, the unit was upgraded.
In 2005 too, a training center was founded in PETRA, equipped
with the necessary computers and a data show. Many training courses have
been held for Petra's journalists and media persons from governmental
institutions since its foundation. The center, funded by UNESCO,
longs to be a regional training center for journalists.
PETRA renders its news services through
line to the agency provided by Jordan telecom, accompanied by a program
to browse news.
Through an FTP
service where every subscriber is provided with technical information,
user name and password. The subscriber is required to have an Internet
connection, a computer and a news browser.
2000 satellite package that is transmitted by United Press International
two websites: petra.gov.jo and petranews.gov.jo, in addition to the
website of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA): www.fananews.com
Stages of Petra's
It has come a long way since news bulletins were distributed internally
through systems that feed communication
lines and the mechanical tele-printers, that later changed to computer
sets, PETRA has now fully computerized news services.
PETRA started to
distribute its bulletins to subscribers internally, through systems that
feed communication lines and the mechanical tele-printer, that later
changed to computer sets.
In 1976, PETRA
started to transmit news on VHF short waves to the Arab world and Europe
for 6 hours/day.
In 1992, PETRA
computerized its press activities: reception and dispatching of news and
In 1994, PETRA
developed its archive system by using an ORACLE database and high
capacity storage equipment.
By virtue of an
agreement signed with the UPI in 1995, PETRA started to transmit news
through satellite that reaches all parts of the world.
In 1997, PETRA
developed with UNESCO support an electronic photo archiving system
that helped the agency to store more than 100,000 photos out of 500,000
photos it owns that depict some very important events in the history of
Jordan and the region.
In 1998, PETRA
got connected to the Internet; it launched its first website of news and
photos. Frequent upgrades have been conducted on the website to cope
with the latest information and technological developments.
In 1999, PETRA
introduced a new version of its news system (nepras) to confront the Y2K
threat. The new version integrated the data, photo and documents
In 2001, PETRA
introduced a program enabling its journalists in local governorates and
abroad to access the nepras system through the Internet. By virtue of
this system, journalists can access nepras from whatever place they work
from typing their own reports and pasting them to the editing page.
In 2004, PETRA
developed programs that allow automatic upgrading of news and photos on
its website. It also introduced an electronic monitoring system that
records news bulletins, store them electronically and use them in
currently using an internal system linked to two servers working with
Windows 2000 system.