Arab press: Between freedom and challenges [Archives:2006/1011/Front Page]

December 28 2006

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Dec. 26 ) The state-run Al-Thori daily newspaper held a symposium Monday on the Arab press, its margins of freedom and its challenges and obstacles.

Several Yemeni researchers and those interested in press-related issues attended the event.

The symposium discussed numerous issues concerning shortcomings in journalistic performance, which are responsible for journalists' harassments and restricting press freedoms.

Lebanese poet Jawdat Fakhraddin affirmed that press freedom in the Arab world has no effective role and that the press scope varies from one place to another. “It's difficult for our press to be free amid current social and cultural situations,” he noted, “Whereas the press margin is expanding in the area of literary journalism, Arab writers and journalists must work in compliance with mechanisms set by their press institutions; thus, they can't express themselves freely.”

Senior Yemeni journalist Abdulbari Taher discussed obstacles and challenges to freedom of the press due to governmental laws, high illiteracy rates and other tough measures.

Taher emphasized that a nation with a good press law can develop and prosper, stressing the necessity of caring for the journalistic experience in Yemen, which remains in its infancy.

According to the senior journalist, more attention must be paid to press-related issues in order to overcome the profession's obstacles and challenges. However, he noted that the journalistic experience has grown over the past two years.

Poet Shawqi Abdulamir, main supervisor of the serializing effort, 'A Book in a Newspaper,' spoke about challenges and obstacles to the book, which is published in numerous official Arab newspapers.

He added that such difficulties vary from country to country, for example, “The book faced a persistent problem when it first was published due to publishing standards in those countries where it was distributed.”

Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh, Cultural Advisor to the President of the Republic and member of the consultative board of 'A Book in A Newspaper,' praised the great success attained by its issuance, noting that the book serves both culture and intellect and attributing its success to sincere efforts by UNESCO. He ascertained that the project's long-term goal is to unify Arab culture via joint reading.

Yemeni Minister of Information Hassan Al-Lawzi explained, “The world has become a small village, which makes press freedom a persistent demand. Despite hard conditions left by totalitarian regimes and occupation in the Arab world, we can say that freedom is a vital part of our daily life, irrespective of any difficulties or shortcomings.

“We hope government legislation and laws will help promote press freedom, as well as help officials do their best regarding defending it,” he added.

Many papers were discussed at the symposium, which coincided with issue No. 100 of 'A Book in A Newspaper.' Organized by Al-Thori daily, the occasion was celebrated in Sana'a in the presence of a UNESCO representative.

A quarter of a billion copies of 'A Book in A Newspaper' were distributed to all Arab nations with the aim of unifying Arab cultural works.