At last, hope for the Yemeni media [Archives:2004/797/Viewpoint]

December 9 2004

The successful roundtable held last Monday to prepare for the launch of the Joint Yemeni Media Development Program (JYMDP) was a new beginning and an opening for new hopes and possibilities for Yemen's media.
With the participation of donors and stakeholders, and with the endorsement of the Yemeni government and personal participation of Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Ahmed Sofan, the event marked a milestone in focusing on one of Yemen's most prominent democracy pillars.
By preparing to launch the JWMP, the Danish initiative has opened the way to starting the first program to deal with the vital element of the Yemeni media.
I could see it in the eyes of Ambassadors and donor representatives present in the meeting. They seemed excited and ambitious about the projects because they will help to build a professional media and contribute to a generation that is able to communicate and deliver information adequately.
In my opinion, this is a major indication that the Yemeni government is indeed eager to carry out reforms, and by allowing the different donors to come together and help the media sector without government's direct interference. The regime is explicitly indicating its wish to bring about a healthy civil society that can communicate directly without barriers.
The government deserves our appreciation and gratitude for this.
However, important as this project is, it is also important to ensure that no obstacles are put in the way of the Danish mission or Yemeni reformists.
The players in the media field are numerous and diverse. There are those involved in regulating and issuing media related licenses and consultations at the governmental or private levels. They need to be consulted when taking steps to reform the current media laws.
There are also the journalists themselves who are keen to build a more transparent and open society with various sources of information. They require that we give them support to access this information.
Furthermore, there is the issue of developing and enhancing private local media enterprises. They need advice, training, and assistance in bringing the required changes to their institutions and to better manage their resources to present excellent journalistic products.
Of course, one cannot forget the issue of training, which needs to target both journalists, and media-related personnel such as editors, designers, marketers, distributors, publishers, etc.
The invaluable contribution of the Danish mission shows its courage and determination to act in favor of the media community. They have responded positively to calls to help the media develop to meet international standards.
Today, I felt relieved with the outcome of the roundtable, which I participated in on behalf of Yemeni private newspaper publishers, who are in need of a better pay, more facilities, and greater respect. In return, its readers will get professional reports that are based on accurate information. It is also to the credit of Yemen's government, as they will be praised for allowing the transformation of the local media to something that is internationally respected, and which will bring a positive image to Yemen's democracy.