Press Review [Archives:2000/29/Press Review]

July 17 2000

Main Headlines:
As for articles and commentaries, the press dealt with a variety of domestic themes, but main emphasis was put on the call for reforming domestic situations and fighting all forms of corruption in the country.
Main Headlines:
– A Dispute over Land Plot, Triggers Off Armed Confrontation between Army Units & Residents of Al-Misrakh
– Six Missing Girls Show Up, Child and Girl Kidnapped
– People’s General Conference Declares War on Corruption
– Western Diplomat: Yemen Heads for Changes, Commonwealth Doors Open Before it
– Tawahi Court Considers Haji Case
Haji Renounced his Islamic Belief Some Months Ago
– A Female Skeleton Found in Mukalla, Kidneys sold for High Prices
– Wa’ila, Daham Tribal Fighting Renewed
– Clashes in Taiz between Citizens & Security
-Arab Regimes Air Flights to Iraq Immediately
– Students Attorney: Sana’a University Officials, Security Must Stand Trial
– Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Holds Solidarity Gathering with Journalist Al Yousufi
– Peaceful Demonstration by Overland Transport Workers
– Yemen’s Embassy In Cairo Denounces A film Offending Yemen
– British Youth Killed by Colleague at Islamic Group Camp in Sa’da
– Shabwa Water Spring Attracts Gulf Citizens
Following are excerpts from the main articles and analyses published by some Yemeni newspapers on various topics preoccupying the country’s public opinion minds.
An article published in Al Ayyam independent tri-weekly ( 12 July 2000) has taken up the subject of fighting corruption. It has said under availability of the political will and urgent desire by the two parties to settle their disputes, Yemen and Saudi Arabia had signed their land and marine border treaty .
The article quoted president Ali Abdulla Saleh on role of the political will of the two countries’ leaderships in solving the border question. The article has demanded the Yemeni leadership, i.e. , the political will to interfere for solving ” our ramiform domestic problems.”
Our internal problems are ramified and we can hardly know who has caused them. All are issuing calls for reform of which we know not when and where it would be. During the meeting with the National Defense Council and the government, the president has diagnosed the areas of corruption and promised to tackle them as his priority. These priorities are: combating corruption, purging the institutions from the corrupt, introducing a revolution in financial, administrative and judicial reform and stabilization of security stability.
The article concluded that ” we are actually in need of more will for actual implementation.”
RAY weekly, organ of Sons of Yemen League ( 11 July 2000) has also discussed rather a similar topic in an article under the title of ” It is the Will & Competence ”. The political leadership of our country has possessed the will and competence that enabled it to settle all border issues with sisterly and friendly neighbouring countries amicably. This has led to strengthening stability and confidence in the region. And it has established relations based on coordination and integration of interests. It is then certain that this national political leadership is capable of accomplishing on the ground the national needs and necessities leading to uprooting all phenomena of fragmentation and rifts.
Solving border issues would have little and limited returns if not followed by other significantly practical steps. Courageous steps should be taken to deal with necessities of political, constitutional, judiciary, social and financial comprehensive reform. Such steps and policies should lead to the establishment of the power of the law supremacy instead of the ” law of power”.
One of the phenomena of this would be the establishment of a local government system invested with wide-range authorities, coupled with independent and just judiciary system. Such accomplishments would stabilize the foundations of lasting Yemeni unity and pave the way for comprehensive national reconciliation.
Editor-in- Chief of Al Balagh independent weekly ( 11July 2000) defines in his editorial the characteristics that should be entertained by a sovereign so that to be considered as successful. He presumes that among the essential factors of a ruler’s success are the work for the establishment of security, protection of citizens’ rights and provision of necessary services.
The citizen would feel extremely sad and frustrated to find that his properties are plundered right under the Capital’s Secretariat very nose and within the boundaries of its jurisdiction. This happens while the authority, despite of its power and prowess, stands hand-folded and assumes the stand of a spectator before the incident.
The editorial wonders what feeling would the citizen have towards the state, or its head, when he finds that the state does not protect his property against plunder. In conclusion, the writer calls upon rulers to protect their citizens’ security and properties as being the best way to make them believe in success of the state and head of the state.
ATTARIQ Independent weekly ( 11July 2000)
An article published in the newspaper has discussed the case of the serial murder of Sana’a University, Medical faculty morgue. It says that no case has ever been paid so much attention by Yemeni public opinion. That interest stems from ugliness and brutality of the crimes and for being committed inside a scientific institution.
The article says unfortunately there have been some voices affirming that the case has taken a new trend towards politicization. Some party circles began to announce that there are some who are working to politicize the case and accusations began to be traded among them.
It has been said that behind this is an aim of reshuffling the cards of the case. Such a development would not serve the case in any way. It is in the first place a criminal case, not a partisan. If a partisan person’s name is mentioned in investigations as being involved in it, that does not mean that his party is involved. Political parties should have a sense of responsibility and leave investigations and the judiciary perform their role. Judiciary power responsibilities must not be interfered with. It is supposed to be actually independent as long as we claim there is democracy.
Al-Wahda weekly (12 July 2000) published an article dealing with some newspapers behaviour towards carrying news of incidents.
As soon as the opposition press comes to know that certain crime has taken place, or a kidnapping incident, reporters rush here and there to record that incident. Their main aim is getting a scoop that is rather at the expense of reality. Such journalists forget about press credibility and what it entails of arousing the publish opinion.
In fact it is regretting that the idea of press coverage remains confined to only topics of incidents, crimes and criticizing negative aspects while positive things are put aside.
Al-Wahdawi weekly of 11 July 2000 has also discussed in an article the theme or press in Yemen but from a different perspective. An article titled ”A call for Rescuing the Fourth Estate ” has said that the scene of press is still that of groaning under intensity of painful blows. There are papers suspended, such as ”Ash-Shoura”, others chained with unjust judgments in cases related to expressing opinions and others standing trials on charges, sentences of some may be the death penalty.
The present state of press is a product of general climate of the country. This climate is characterized by restriction and stranglehold under incomplete and loose freedoms. The journalists union is the most prominent organisation entrusted with enhancing the demand for freedoms, among which is essentially that of press. Press has become threatened from within and from without.
Under a heading of ”Democracy” An-Nass weekly of 10 July 2000 published an article on concept of democracy, especially in the Arab world.
There are many examples on flagrant violations of human rights, and right to expression and opinion in our Arab communities. The matter becomes worse when it is related to governments that never cease alleging that democracy is their indispensable pursuit. Some of these ”democratic” governments are not only mistaken in their understanding of democracy, but exceed that to believe in and deem those who do not share them that version of comprehension, as being nor democrats, but rather traitors or even mercenaries.
One article of Ath-Thawri weekly, organ of Yemeni Socialist party (13 July 2000) has dealt with the phenomenon of kidnapping.
Local newspapers repeatedly publish news on missing girls and children, and kidnapping incidents have come to include Yemeni men and women.
Kidnappings in Yemen began with foreign diplomats and tourists, and the country has got a distinguished international reputation in this respect.
Kidnapping of whatever category is in fact a form of terrorism. Kidnapping incidents started in the early nineties as a method of social protest against injustice of the ruling authority. But nowadays this practice has developed into a form of organised crime Yemen had never experienced before. It has become a phenomenon threatening the entity of both the state and society, especially after the state has adopted the role of being a negotiating party with kidnappers.
The article author wonders what role or duty of the state in Yemen has after all this carelessness and semi-complete absence of role of the state apparatus.