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Media Profiles

Profiles of journalists in the Middle east

Khetam Malkawi - Jordan Times

Christine Byllaardt

Khetam Malkawi. Photograph by Juliette Strangio

Khetam Malkawi. Photograph by Juliette Strangio

As far as Jordanian reporters go, Khetam Malkawi is “the most aggressive journalist, and the most tough one,” according to a colleague at the Jordan Times.  

When she started reporting at Jordan’s only English newspaper eight years ago, she was the only female journalist covering the lower house of parliament.

She has since covered “politics, some sensitive issues, international relations, even military issues…”

“Changing people’s lives, for me, positive change, this is the real success.”

Malkawi’s goal is to prove that women are on the same level as men.

“Usually I take issues that are not easy for a woman to be accepted in, just to prove to the people that women can do it...”

During a trip to southern Jordan, Malkawi discovered a story in the small village of Tasan. It led to a story that would win her a major journalism award.

“I found out that they don’t have secondary school there, that’s why children there drop out of school at the age of 15 or 16.

“If they want to go to the nearest school they have to walk daily about 10 kilometres… there is no transportation from their village to the nearest village.

“They didn’t have back then a medical centre… they don’t have normal phones… they didn’t have access to water and things, so they lived in a difficult situation.”

Malkawi became focused on the children in the village. The day after she published her story, the royal court contacted her for more details about the situation.

“After one week,” the King ordered local officials “to build a school there, to build a medical centre, and to equip it with doctors and equipment, and, they decided to provide them with buses to take students to school in the nearest villages until the school is built there.”

For Malkawi, this was a “real success story.”

“Having an impact or changing the lives of the local community for me is a priority.”

Although journalism is Malkawi’s passion, she says in two more years it will be time for her to make a change of career to challenge herself.

“I really, really love journalism, and I try not to be disappointed with the restrictions of access to information here,” she said. “But now, it is time for me to move to a different level.”