World Association of Newspapers:Why not be part of it? [Archives:2004/742/Viewpoint]

May 31 2004

The Yemen Times took the initiative to become the first ever Yemeni newspaper to become an associate member of the world-renowned World Association of Newspapers (WAN). The Paris-based organization has been quite active for many years in promoting the press throughout the globe. In the 11th World Editor's Forum that started in Istanbul yesterday, it was clear that there is greater commitment now to focus on an area that has long been neglected and paid little attention to, and that is the Middle East.
For many years, newspapers in Yemen were seen prosecuted, closed down, bankrupt, etc. Those developments have now made Yemeni as well as Arab newspapers more aware of the need to get out of their isolation and begin creating international links and bonds so as to get out from the smaller picture to the larger one.
In a time of globalization and common interests, we cannot afford to stay isolated. As Yemeni newspapers, we should seek aggressively to be part of the media picture around us. We must reveal the miseries and troubles that we face to our colleagues in the region and the world and share experiences to find solutions. We must never ever forget that we are all in the same boat, and by taking this into account, we should seek ways to bolster our relations and find common ground to move forward.
I also seize this opportunity to call upon other Yemeni newspapers to join WAN to share with many of its members ideas and experiences and set up potential strategies of partnership and cooperation.
I have come to know that many newspapers, especially large ones, tend to appreciate and welcome initiatives coming from our part of the world. Many of those newspapers want to find about the conditions of the press in Arab countries and want to find ways of enhancing them. A lot of what could be called 'enterprise' newspapers are thinking more about helping other emerging democracies develop their abilities in presenting the facts in a professional and accurate manner. The issue of 'commercialism' in giant newspapers in the West did not change, but at least, there is now greater margin of moving in the direction of helping others grow too.
I believe that learning from examples of others is a good starting point for us as newspapers in the Arab world. Each and every giant newspaper we see throughout the world had a humble beginning, and indeed, we can also grow as they did and become giant newspapers if we had the will, commitment and if we developed our resources adequately.
I have faith in that other Yemeni newspapers will follow in the footsteps of Yemen Times and merge into this global coalition of newspapers to create better conditions for the press in Yemen, and bring many editors and journalists out of the country's borders towards internationalism and take Yemen's press reality out of its stagnancy towards international standards on all levels.