Public Opinion and the Press [Archives:1999/17/Focus]

April 26 1999

By: Ismail Al-Ghabri,
Yemen Times
It is worth mentioning that the press is regarded the fourth authority in the hierarchy of any ruling system in the world besides its executive, judicial and legislative authorities. Thus, the press should be ready to observe the correct implementation of the laws and regulations in society. In this sense the journalist is just like the moment historian with all its reflections and interactions. The journalist is the pulse of the public opinion and expresses his pains, worry, agony, complain, satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
In the democratic societies the public media apparatuses acquire a distinguished place both in the public opinion and the authority and its opinion/analysis arouse the concern of all the sectors in society. It is not a point of criticism which the journalist should point out/arouse as articles but he should point to those strong as well as those weak ones aiming to guide/direct the nation toward reforms and modernization. Criticism of any shortcomings or excesses in society should have within it the sense of tackling for criticism here aims building up society. Whatever published should go under proof reading, assessment and aims at the end the progress of society and the publisher of any article is responsible for what he/she writes or explains. He should not insult/humiliate or write something which affects or distorts the facts. In other words, he should be the conscience of the nation.
On the other hand, the journalist should have a protection of the authorities in order to express his opinions/visions freely and without any oppression for the democratic practices are guaranteed and covered by the constitution of the nation.
What we aim in our article is to see the press and the official media interact positively for the benefit of all and should have a role in the on-going transformations. We want to see our press in a better position with concern of issues that change the face of society. We want the journalists to combat corruption, frivolity, irresponsibility and disorder but in a constructive way. Today, we see hundreds of issues talking about corruption and else of defects here and there and some of those issues might topple down ministers but they are confronted with coldness and irresponsibility and even negligence.
This procrastination and negligence confirm that there is no way to combat it since there is no sponsor/supervision apparatuses to stop them. We talk about violations, excesses and shortcomings but no one listens and we point to complaints of the citizens and no one is ready to see them. The question is that there is an absence of seriousness among some of the apparatuses to combat corruption and listen to the voice of righteousness.
The reform package in itself is a complete program to reform administration, economy and finance of the state on sound basis.
The campaign of the president lately to combat corruption is a good sign on the way of implementation. The first priorities of that campaign is to permit the press and the official media to publish things about what the president announced as a program so as to launch the country to the safe side. Otherwise what is the meaning of writing or disclosing the defects and excesses without anyone to follow or read or even take it into consideration. It is just a point of view I wanted to recall in general.