SILVER LININGCelebrations: A waste of money [Archives:2007/1054/Opinion]

May 28 2007

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
On the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the unification day, the ministry of information invited a number of Arab journalists and writers. That is fine. Such invitations should be with a clear objective that these journalists go to see several places and meet a number of government and non-government people so that they can report concretely. However, these journalists were locked in at hotels in Sana'a till they were taken to attend the celebrations in Ibb and then were taken to Aden for fun. I spoke with some of these visiting journalists and they were shocked that there was no clear schedule for their visit. Except for the press conference of the interior minister last Thursday, these journalists would not have been able to write anything about Yemen.

I guess you guys share with me the impression this is a waste of money. The ministry was supposed to arrange a program for these journalists to meet the officials they ask for as well as the civil society activists and see a number of tourist attraction sites if they mean to publicize the country outside. The ministry spent a lot of money on their trip over here and therefore, they could utilize their presence in providing them with the necessary facilities to be able to come back with a number of reports. Personally, I am not in favor of such visits from a professional point of view as any media outlet which is interested in reporting on Yemen should send its reporter at its own expenses.

What is funny is that the state-owned newspapers kept showering these Arab journalists with questions in their rooms on their “impressions about democracy and press freedom””. It is ridiculous