Dr. Azzalab to YT:”Among the objectives of the institute is to contribute to intellectual awareness in Yemen” [Archives:2004/765/Community]

August 19 2004

By Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Yemen Times Staff

The Mass Communication Training and Qualifying Institute (MCTQI) is one of the pillars of the press. It is an outstanding scientific establishment, specializing in technical education and retraining press personnel, governmental and non-governmental establishments in Yemen. It utilizes field studies and undertakes research on approaches in communication sciences. Ismail Al-Ghabiri of the Yemen Times interviewed Dr. Abdullah Azzalab, Dean of the MCTQI. Dr. Azzalab – who appreciates the role of the Yemen Times, which he considers a pioneering newspaper presenting Yemeni issues, since its foundation by the late Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf – welcomed us.

Q: Being the dean of the MCTQI, could you give the readers an idea about the institute and service it offers to national media?

A: First of all, I would like to welcome the Yemen Times, thanking you for visiting us, and informing the readers about this press edifice.
The MCTQI is one of the major press establishments in the country as it trains and qualifies pressmen in general by holding activating courses for staff of official and non-official press institutions, as well as holding courses on modern media skills. The MCTQI is divided into two main units: the training unit, and research and study unit.
In the field of training, the MCTQI provides a number of courses including courses on journalistic editing, directing, radio and TV acoustic engineering, news and program presentation, awareness campaigns, disseminating journalistic and press websites, and journalism in other languages such as English.
The system of the research and studies unit includes a monthly activity named “the open day”, on which journalists and reporters gather together and discuss the issues of their profession. Arabic and international experts are hosted in order to benefit young professionals in the field of journalism, and media in general. We have other activities we plan to conduct in the coming year, when resources are available. The purpose of them is to improve the media message. To our knowledge, the MCTQI is the only institute specialized in press training and qualifications in Yemen. The institute's objectives include:
1- Raising the capabilities of personnel in different media means.
2- Promoting the governmental media performance.
3- Forming a complete team of trainers and researchers.
4- Improving media training curricula and styles.
5- Contributing to the intellectual development of the country.

Q: What is the plan of the MCTQI, and how many courses does it offer annually?
A: Concerning courses, the MCTQI offers about 25 courses yearly. A draft annual plan is presented to the responsible media authorities, who study it thoroughly according to their need for courses. The MCTQI also organizes a group discussion on the media establishments' needs. In the light of the responses to the draft and the comments and demands of the institutions, we formulate a realistic plan and an annual training program. There are, however, priorities based on the financial resources of the MCTQI. We also take into account the timing, so that it becomes convenient for the staff.

Q: What do you aspire to do in the future?
A: We have so many ambitions, and we have the right to them, because ambition is the root of creativity and basis for improvement. We hope the Cabinet will respond positively to our draft concerning reconsideration of the skeletal structure of the MCTQI and its components. This is in order to uplift the performance of the institute and enable it to train as many personnel as possible, besides organizing diploma programs for media staff, and civil service people in education and health and other sectors. There is a great demand by media establishments for training their staff in media skills, because media is an open realm for all to join.
We now are working diligently to branch the MCTQI in all provinces that accommodate press activities. We have signed memorandums of understanding with a number of Arab institutes to exchange experiences.

Q: How do you evaluate the reality of local press?
A: Media has plunged to the front line due to recent international changes. Media is living an interim and critical period, as the mass of information flows dashingly and smoothly. News is now very much accessible. In my opinion, this advancement of media is a double-edged sword. The free, unrestrained, flow of information and press technologies, and cross-cultural exchanges, may have advantages in terms of understanding other peoples' cultures, but, on the other hand, it may have disadvantages, if it is not used properly to serve cultures and peoples. I do not exaggerate when saying we are living in press anarchy. The electronic media on the Internet, for example, so far has no regulations to control it. Anybody can have a website designed and then publish their stuff on it. There should be criteria, standards and conditions to control such projects. We are not against such things, but we hope a set of regulations will be issued to define professional conditions and organize the mess, to ensure the reader's right to a positive communication devoid of deception and fallacies.

Q: What is new at the MCTQI?
A: The institute has organized a group discussion involving key and professional partners in the media arena.
The discussion will be on the problems of media training in Yemen, and its prospects for improvement.
The discussion is essential to develop the media profession and enable official and private press establishments to do their duty, and convey their message well. The discussion included governmental, non-governmental and international organizations including the UNDP.

Q: Any last comment?
A: I thank the Yemen Times for following up and shedding light on all the activities of the MCTQI.