Motives of presidential instigation against Al-Ayyam Daily [Archives:2008/1219/Opinion]
By: Faisal Al-Safwani
Seemingly, the job of both senior editors of Al-Ayyam Daily Hisham and Tamam Basharahil did not apply the currently used means to praise continuing success of their career through the daily paper. As Yemenis both in the north and the south used to see it, the Al-Ayyam Daily proved itself as a leading paper publishing correct and authentic stories without any manipulation of reports passed to it for publishing.
What I would like to say here is that insistence by the daily's staff to stick to the profession of journalism, abide by rules of the journalistic career and demonstrate their loyal with people through following their issues and concerns, as well as publishing our their sufferings one by one, made the newspaper and its staff targeted by the official hatred. The paper eventually found itself face to face with the presidential attack.
Some people wanted the daily to be partisan, and therefore join the papers of political exaggerations and partisan propaganda. However, its staff insisted that their paper must remain neutral and independent, thereby embodying all the indicators of real journalistic career, and caring about accuracy and objectivity while publishing people's stories and concerns at the level of governorates and districts.
This is the most salient quality of the daily, thus setting it apart from other local newspapers. The daily doesn't even hesitate to cover any functions and achievements made by the local authority in the various governorates and districts countrywide although it seems to give a top priority to events taking place in the southern governorates.
All these facts are counted in favor of the daily not against it, most notably as the absolute majority of local newspapers appear to concentrate on events and functions taking place in the capital city of Sana'a. There is no an independent newspaper in the south part of Yemen with the exception of Al-Ayyam daily.
Therefore, it is natural for the daily to pay more attention to what takes place in the southern governorates. Even if rulers of this nation are actually unionists and concerned about what happens in the south and the north as well, they are also supposed to recognize the Al-Ayyam daily and reward its staff, as well as provide all the means of support and backing for them and value their noble job in the journalistic career.
The daily compensates for official papers' deficit
We should take into consideration that Al-Ayyam daily, through its good coverage, compensates for the deficit of official newspapers that are extremely engaged in Sana'a-based events, and therefore became unable to report events in southern and eastern governorates.
Instead of rewarding the daily and its staff for their great job, we were surprised to see President Saleh saying during his speech, aired by the Yemen Satellite Channel a few days ago, that “Al-Ayyam Daily is a mouthpiece of secessionists.” Whether the secession demands were legal or not, under no circumstance may a presidential speech contain clear and outright instigation against the daily.
From a legal viewpoint, the clear, direct and frank instigation against the Al-Ayyam daily might have also contained indirect instigation against its editing staff. We were of the hope that such instigation is articulated by a governor or a minister. We regretted to see such instigation made by President of the Republic, whom we expect to treat all Yemenis, be they from the north or the south, equally and fairly.