GM of Yemen TV and Radio Corporation to YT: “Yemenis all over Yemen will soon be able to watch and listen to Yemen TV and Radio” [Archives:2001/46/Interview]

November 12 2001

Yemen Satellite Channel is continuing to progress in an attempt to catch up with the other satellite channels that have greatly surpassed the network. Signs of improvement in the channel’s activities include appointing correspondents, as well as concentrating on and producing new live programs. To know more about the future plans of Yemen TV, especially during the upcoming holy month of Ramadhan, Mohammed al-Masani of Yemen Times met with Mr. Ahmad Taher al-Sheiani, General Manager of the Yemen TV and Radio Corporation, who shed some light on the future programs and priorities of the corporation.
Mr. Ahmad Al-Sheiani said that priorities of the TV and Radio Corporation revolve around three important areas: following up with the plan to provide TV and radio broadcasts to remote areas in which TV and radio transmissions are not yet available (30% of population), adapting digital systems and appointing corespondents in the most important cities in the world. “We already have correspondents in Palestine and Afghanistan. In the near future there will be more correspondents in Cairo, USA, France and, possibly, London,” he said. He also discussed the desire of the management to train the staff of the corporation through new projects.
About employing new qualified people, he said that despite the good number of qualified personnel, the corporation will always be looking for more development and improvement. He expressed satisfaction with what the corporation has so far achieved in comparison with the its situation 10 years ago. He said the corporation is the only TV and radio institution in the region that does not have any foreign experts. “All our personnel are 100% Yemeni which amazes anyone who visits us,” he said. He added that foreign experts are needed only when purchasing new systems because contracts stipulate that sellers train buyers for a period of time.
One of the recommendations of the Festival of Arab Radio federations in Tunisia was supporting the Palestinian cause. Assessing the media role in this regard, he said he was happy to hear from the manager of Palestinian TV and the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Information, as well as many others in Palestine, that Yemen TV is very mush concerned about the Palestinian cause. “They thanked Yemen TV in phone calls. They even say that our TV is more concerned about the Palestinian cause than Palestinian TV itself, ” he said. He added that supporting the struggle of the Palestinians for freedom is a duty that should concern all Arabs.
On the subject of promoting democracy in our country, he said the corporation had a good number of programs which propagate the Yemeni democratic experience in transparency. Although the corporation is a governmental organ, al-Sheiani said it is more democratic to criticize government institutions and anything negative.
About tourism and the role the corporation can play to revive tourism in Yemen, he pointed to dozens of documentary films that show the country’s tourist potential, such as irrigation terraces, historic sites, handicrafts, folklore, etc. The corporation has also produced a number of films on environmental issues such as desertification, marine life, sanctuaries, dams, islands, etc. There are also programs in English, in addition to a French program which was launched last month in association with the French Embassy in Sana’a. These will also contribute to the promotion of tourism in Yemen.
Many small countries, due to their strong media presence, have achieved worldwide recognition and improved their position in the world. Unfortunately, Yemen is still at the beginning of its efforts to reach such a stage. In that regard, al-Sheiani emphasized the need for a strong media that matches the expectations of the country.
With the coming of the holy month of Ramadhan, TV channels compete with one another to capture a larger audience. This Ramadhan, Yemen TV will be characterized by new informative quiz programs and various programs which focus on entertainment.
As far as children’s programs are concerned, 25% of the total programs have been allocated for children between 6-15 years old.