Government releases suspended newspapers [Archives:2006/943/Front Page]

May 4 2006

By: Mustafa Ragih

SANA'A, May 2 ) Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajammal issued a decree releasing Al-Ray Al-Aam, Al-Hurreyah and Yemen Observer newspapers, which have been suspended since last February for republishing the Prophet cartoons.

Bajammal issued the decree Tuesday following a meeting with Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi and Minister of Information Hassan Al-Lawzi. The meeting, which came one day before journalists around the world celebrated the World Press Freedom Day, discussed many problems and issues experienced by journalists. The meeting came out with the government's support for journalist via approving the YJS General Assembly's meeting on May 25 to elect a new YJS Chief. The new chief will succeed Mahboub Ali who resigned the post due to health issues. The government approved financial sponsorship for the YJS General Assembly's meeting.

Prime Minister obviously responded to the YJS demands regarding situations of journalists in official media and their entitlements in the new wage strategy, YJS board member Sami Ghaleb said in a statement to the Yemen Times. He added that Bajammal ordered concerned bodies to quickly issue an ownership document for the YJS to have land for its Aden office.

With regard to the dispute between YJS and the government over the new draft press law currently discussed before Al-Shoura Council, Bajammal told YJS the government is not in a hurry to approve the draft law. He demonstrated his government's care to achieve a draft law meeting YJS's demands and expectations.

“Though late it was, the Cabinet's decision is good and reflects insistence of the journalistic community, represented by the YJS, on a broader scope and safe climate for press freedom,” Editor-in-Chief of Yemen Observer Mohamed Al-Asadi stated. It will be the first time for the Yemeni press to normally mark the World Press Freedom Day.

Editor-in-Chief of Al-Ray Al-Aam Kamal Al-Ulefi said: “we welcome the government's move to pass the law after the attempt to harm reputation of Al-Ray Al-Aam, voice of all people, and its editors, as well as to shut up mouths by illegally suspending the three papers.”