One independent, five opposition, and six pro-government among its board membersMahboob retains YJS leadership [Archives:2004/715/Front Page]

February 26 2004

Hassan Al-Zaidi
& Yasser Al-Mayyasi
Yemen Times Staff

The Third General Conference of the Yemen Journalists Syndicate (YJS) convened last Tuesday in Sana'a with the participation of 764 active YJS members. This was one day after the YJS elections for the chairmanship and board members.

The final results of the elections during the conference indicated a majority of votes to Mr. Mahboob Ali, who has retained his post as the chairman of the YJS despite initially strong competition by other candidates, namely Hamud Munassar and Yahya Al-Haddi. This is the second term for Mahboob Ali in his post.

Balanced new board
Meanwhile, one independent, five opposition, and six pro-government individuals were selected to form the 12-seat board of members of the YJS.
The winners of the YJS board of member seats were Hafidh Al-Bukari, Yaseen Al-Masoudi, Hamud Al-Bukari, Saeed Thabet, Dhikra Abbas, Sameer Al-Yousufi, Ahmed Al-Jabali, Rajeh Al-Jabobi, Hassan Abdulwarith, Abdullah Al-Saafani, Marwan Dammaj and Sami Ghalib. Furthermore, Ali Al-Jaradi, and W. Al-Shathily were considered reserve members.

Proper organization
There were 219 absent YJS members who did not participate in the elections, which were declared transparent and honest. The elections sessions were held in a well-organized atmosphere, unlike the day earlier when chaos ruled the conference morning sessions. This, journalists believe, was attributed to the personality of the moderator of the elections session, Dr. Raufa Hassan, who was able to keep journalists under control and deal with problems as they emerged.

The final declaration of the conference came out with a number of conclusions, including the need to establish tolerance, dialogue, and reconciliation between journalists working for different media organizations and abandon articles that promote hatred or political propaganda. They also urged the YJS chairmanship and board to work more efficiently in pushing for more freedoms for journalists and coordinate with executive and judicial authorities to respect the freedom of the press and act strongly against the harassment or blackmail of journalists. Among the recommendations were to enhance the salaries of journalists by applying certain payment standards and to provide greater facilities to newspapers so that they would not suffer from financial burdens that cause economic difficulties for their staffers.
The conference also recommended that 25% of the revenues of the syndicate be used for social security of YJS members and demanded that the government take seriously accurate reports on corruption and abuse of public property.
The conference also called for joining hands with civil society and stand strongly against any attempts to use religion to crackdown on journalists and editors.
The conference also called upon the authorities and specifically security forces to arrest and bring to justice those who recently attacked YJS member and prominent journalist Sadiq Nasher in his own house and act responsibly in protecting his and his family's lives and property.

Chairman pledges development
Mr. Mahboob Ali had thanked the YJS members for reelecting him as the chairman of the YJS and said that the President has agreed to provide more than 2,000 square meters of land for the YJS to build its own house. He also confirmed the news that 150 personal computers will be distributed to YJS members working in editorial work and have payments made through installments. He also pledged to intensify work and increase activities of the syndicate in the years to come.

Prime Minister Abdulqadir ba Jammal, who was present in the inauguration of the conference on Saturday, had stated that the government will facilitate all procedures to make the conference a success and hopes that the conference will end up strengthening the YJS and its role in protecting and strengthening freedom of expression and professional journalism.