First initiative of its kind proposed following Sana’a ConferenceEfforts to establish first private Yemeni TV channel [Archives:2004/703/Front Page]

January 15 2004

In a step considered the first of its kind, an initiative has been formulated to establish Yemen's first private TV and Radio Network in Yemen. In a press release sent to the Yemeni Media, the initiator of the channel, Sheikh Abdulqawi Ali Al-Showai said that the event coincides with the Sana'a Inter-Governmental Regional Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the Role of the International Criminal Court, which clearly emphasized on the importance of the freedom and privatization of the media.
“I am happy to announce our initiative for the first time to the public to establish a complete TV/Radio network. Our initiative is based on the spirit of the Yemeni constitution which supports the freedom of the media and protects the freedom of expression and opinion.” Al-Showai said.
Al-Showai said that it is about time Yemen follows the footsteps of Egypt and Lebanon in allowing the private sector to establish TV and Radio Channels, especially as Yemen is a pioneer in the Arab world in supporting democracy, and supported his claim by noting the Sana'a conference held during 11-12 January on democracy and human rights.
“I furthermore, seize this opportunity to thank President Saleh for organizing and supporting the conference, which came out with a declaration that clearly pointed out in article (I) ensuring the importance of the freedom and privatization of the media.” he added.
It is worth noting that article (I) of the Sana'a Declaration states that “free and independent media is essential for the promotion and protection of democracy and human rights. Pluralism in the media and its privatization are vital for contributing to the dissemination of human rights information, facilitating informed public participation, promoting tolerance and contributing to governmental accountability. The media should contribute effectively and responsibly towards the strengthening of democracy and human rights knowledge.”
According to Al-Showai, if the request to establish the channel is accepted, it would be the first time a private channel, which is to be named “Democracy Channel”, will start operation just after it receives a license from the concerned governmental authorities.
The founder believes that the government will respond positively to the request of founding the channel. “The channel will be founded on solid international standards and will be dedicated to supporting democracy in Yemen.”
The press release mentioned that the channel will allocate part of its time to cover democracy-related activities and address human rights issues.
Al-Showai also mentioned that he has high hopes and expectations that the regime in Yemen will implement the mentioned recommendation in the Sana'a Declaration and hence utilize, permit and give protection to the right of establishing free private media establishments (TV and Radio) to serve the public movement towards a more democratic country.
It's worth noting that if Yemen agrees to allow the private sector to run its own TV channels, it would be the third Arab country to do so after Lebanon and Egypt.