Sufan Promises Support for MediaDanish Initiate Media Development Program [Archives:2004/797/Front Page]

December 9 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
A roundtable discussion to mark a phase to prepare for the launch of the Joint Media Development Program (JMDP), a project initiated by the Danish government in collaboration with the Yemeni stakeholders was held last Monday at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MPIC). The meeting was attended by Ahmad Mohammed Sufan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning who said that the media sector in Yemen needs a real reform. He thanked the Danish government for taking such an initiative and promised a support from the government to bring about comprehensive development to the media sector in Yemen. Representatives of the donor countries and organizations including the Danish, Japanese and Dutch ambassadors were present to hear the results of a six- month work between the Danish team and Yemeni stakeholders. During the meeting, the working groups coordinators covering several areas of the media landscape presented identified problems, assessment of their needs as well as strategic priorities on the short and long run. The Danish team also presented a summary of their field visits to Aden and Taiz. Some background was presented on how the working groups covering ( Access to information; Freedom of the media; Strengthening the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS); Professional training in the media sector; Upgrading of schools of journalism; Supporting private publishers; Gender (as a cross cutting issue) as well as the preparatory committee set up from the coordinators of these working groups who signed an agreement to during Ramadan to work to together for the promotion of the media sector in Yemen. Of course, this committee is not final and is subjected to change and amendments. The next steps that the Danish are working for is to sign a framework agreement between Yemen and Denmark as basis for further Danish input as well as sign memorandum of understanding between stakeholders. They will also establish an office to facilitate the program including a Danish senior media advisor. Then, there will be an official launch of the program with a 6-month start-up phase where many consultations and dialogue as well as pilot projects will be implemented.
The event saw broad participation from media stakeholders who presented their ideas and input to who the program should appear, the areas of interest. During their stay in Yemen, the Danish mission has conducted several talks with government officials, media stakeholders and donors. Journalists were very happy about the roundtable, envisaging it as a very good step to improve the media sector, which is very weak and needs a lot of attention. They were optimistic about the initiative that brought them into direct dialogue and contact with donors who can be attracted to focus on the area that was neglected.