In preparation to launch the JMDP:rnRoundtable on media developmentrn [Archives:2004/796/Front Page]

December 6 2004

Sana'a, Monday 6 Dec – A roundtable discussion and meeting is due to be held today to mark the phase to prepare for the launch of the Joint Media Development Programme (JMDP), which is a project initiated by the Danish government in collaboration with the Yemeni stakeholders to bring about comprehensive development to the media sector in Yemen.
The actual launching of this program is expected to take place early next year.rnThe event is to be held today morning at the Ministry of Planning in Sanaa. It will resemble the beginning of a long-term plan to enhance the level of media in Yemen and promote its role in the development of the country.
The roundtable is organized by the Danish media development delegation currently in Yemen in collaboration with media stakeholders in the country.
The discussion will be followed by a press conference in which the Danish mission will clarify any ambiguities or question marks about the mission's objectives and strategies.
It is worth noting that the Danish mission faced some unforeseen difficulties in their current visit to Yemen including a false report to the Political Security Office (PSO), which apparently was mistaken in thinking that they are on a suspicious visit to the country. This resulted in a brief interrogation of the team while they were in Taiz. However, it was clear that the PSO was totally wrong about their intentions and was given false information about the mission, they were apologized to by the Taiz authorities, which also pledged to support and facilitate their mission.
Furthermore, the roundtable discussion will be an opportunity to answer the different questions about the selection criteria of the working groups, the future stakes, and the different roles to be played by stakeholders during the various stages of the JMDP.
The event will be attended by government representatives, the media, international organizations, donor representatives from different embassies and organizations, and a host of others concerned with the development of media in Yemen.

Yemeni government welcomes initiative
The Yemeni government, represented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mr. Ahmed Sufan welcomed this initiative and expressed his gratitude to the government of Denmark for taking this bold step in helping Yemen develop its media to be more active and professional.
In a meeting held last Friday with members of the Danish mission along with journalists from Sweden and Norway, Mr. Sufan said that he was happy that the Danish government resumed its aid to Yemen and hoped that Sweden and Norway would follow suit by helping the country implement its democratic and economic reforms.

High expectations from Donors
With its plan and anticipated activities, the JMDP is expected to receive support and contributions from the donor community to help it achieve its maximum potential and assist in the democratic transformation of the country.
The JMDP is a result of extensive hard work for more than six months by the Danish team along with Yemenis involved in the media sector.
The team, which is composed of highly qualified trainers and strategic analysts and professionals in the field of development, has been following up previous missions that have been visiting Yemen regularly since June 2004.
The mission came up with the set-up of seven working groups that constitute the main pillars of the JMDP:
– Access to information;
– Freedom of the media;
– Strengthening the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS);
– Professional training in the media sector;
– Upgrading of schools of journalism;
– Supporting private publishers;
– Gender (as a cross cutting issue)

In cooperation with the working groups and other relevant stakeholders, in Sanaa and in other provinces, the current mission in the context of the JMDP is to develop a strategic framework that would highlight priorities for the different components and a 6-month start-up phase with an action plan for specific pilot or short-term projects and activities.

An office to be established for the JMDP
As a concrete step to facilitate the implementation of the JMDP, the Danish mission will establish an office in Yemen to be headed by mission member Ms. Stefania Bork, who was formerly working with the International Federation of Journalists.
Stefanie will officially be the media advisor of the Danish mission and the coordinator for the JMDP in Yemen for the next two years. She is expected to start her work in Yemen early next year and has expressed enthusiasm and optimism about the program and its future.
“I believe there is great potential in developing the media sector in Yemen. With hard work, collaboration with and among stakeholders, contributions from the donor community, and support from the Yemeni authority, I believe the program could indeed constitute a milestone in Yemen's media.” Stephanie told Yemen Times.