Coming together as newspapers [Archives:2004/753/Viewpoint]

July 8 2004

Last week, we witnessed one of the glorious moments of unity and a sense of optimism among publishers of Yemeni newspapers. In a meeting that took place in Sanaa, 12 publishers of different newspapers in Yemen gathered for the first time to discuss the possibility of forming a common entity to defend their rights and work to achieve their ambitions. This entity would be the body that would represent them in many cases and bring their voice loud and clear.
“The Yemeni Newspaper Publishers Association” is a dream come true for many newspapers which for many years struggled to find common ground with all other newspapers. Today, we, as newspaper publishers, have reached a consensus that we need to act, and act quickly, to bring us closer to each other and work for each others' prosperity and progress.
“We have been looking at each other as enemies or rivals for so long, I guess this is the right time to sit and think about what is common between us!” said Ali al-Garadi, the Publisher of Nawafidh.
Yes indeed, for the first time one could sense the desire to come together and act as one. Yemeni newspaper publishers have so much in common and very few disputes. We have so many ambitions and so much potential. We have a young generation of Yemenis willing to read and seeking some truly professional articles and reports. We have the will to improve our newspaper industry, and above all, we have all the means to succeed.
The consensus that we came to after the meeting was indeed a signal of great hope in that Yemen's newspaper industry is now destined to grow and progress. The mission of the association has been set from the very beginning to not leave anyone behind. Let's cooperate, gain experiences from each other, work to promote each other, and create common ground for progress for all.
The government has also expressed its desire to support such an initiative because whatever serves in promoting professional journalism is also supported by the government. On the other hand, the donor community is also supportive of the idea, because at last they will have a body that represents newspapers available to interact with them. There are simply no losers in this process, which signals how responsible Yemeni publishers have become.
This step is not unique to Yemen. Many other countries in the region and the world have also formed such bodies to act as an interface of publishers and help convey their message and ideas to governments, to donors, to international organizations, to other newspapers and similar associations in the region and the world. Such a body is also helpful in uniting publishers on common issues of concern for all of them, including the fact that they can always benefit from each other and try to help improve the overall conditions of the newspaper industry in their respective countries.
I believe this move should also promote ideas of tolerance and fair competitiveness, especially as there will always be big and small members in the same organization.
Overall, such a project is destined to succeed if its members are eager to make use of it, especially as it is not the first time, and will never be the last.
Let's all hope that this will indeed constitute a turning point in Yemen's newspaper history. We'll keep our fingers crossed.