Writers in newspapersWhat do writers offer readers? [Archives:2005/822/Education]

March 7 2005

By Murad Alazzany
UPM University
Kualalampour, Malaysia

I believe that the ultimate message of a writer is to create an awareness among his readers about issues by enlightening their minds and satisfying their curiosity of what is going around them in the real world. A good writer can bring the whole world and put it in the hands of his readers from the desired angle point and perspective. A writer can do that only when he believes in what he says . That is, by making the people feel that he is one of them, and shares with them their suffering, pains and worries.

A review of many articles written and reported in the newspaper, may lead one to wonder as to what the newspaper is trying to say, and whom it addresses. I ,for one, posed a question relating to the organizational framework of so many newspapers that are issued in Yemen, their sense of news and the central concern of their readership. I hope it is not an under statement to say that most of the newspapers in Yemen are just bulletins for political parties or merely unapologetic cheerleaders for the ruling elite. The rest, irrespective of their political affiliation or allegiance, are ill-founded and betray a sense of immaturity as if they are still in early stages of establishment. Yet it is heartening to find some news papers admirably professional in reporting and covering events and issues ,although hardly you can identify th ideology they are trying to serve.

As a matter of fact, I can't help emphasizing the ignominious harassments of our journalists in the hands of the authority by way of punching, kidnapping , or censoring their news papers and sentencing them to prison for years. That is awful in a country that pretends to be democratic to the back bones. So all of us are aware that we are not living in a democratic society that respects freedom of the press or of individuals. What the hell are they talking about? They can never dare deceive us.

But as it has already been mentioned , writers can never enlighten their readers' minds i unless they adopt a style of writing that is appropriate to their readers' knowledge, culture, beliefs and background. That style must not be clothed in a neutral language . I believe that newspapers must offer themselves as a brand of entertainment by being lively and updated. They have to make their readers enjoy their readership. They must compete for readers,because people have more choices now a days . So never allow dullness to masquerade as seriousness . Never blame the venders and buyers if they stop selling or buying papers. I even can bet that most of the Yemeni people who are good at surfing the net read other news papers but not the local ones for they have nothing much to offer. Newspapers should harbour no fear and just do what their professions expect them to do. A writer must uphold his principles, and feel proud to to live, die and sacrifice for their sake. The first step towards achieving that is clearly defining their own ideology and system of beliefs. In that way a news paper can report the truth frankly, fearlessly, without compromising with the authority. I have really never come cross one single article or reportage in a language that reflects common sense about matters on which there is already a consensus. To put that in a different way, the elites of the society want to read what they can feel, to see what they are actually experiencing .That is to say ,they want to hear personal voices of the newspaper as well as their instructional statements that really address sensitive issues like press freedom, corruption in its true realistic version, regionalism, nepotism, exploitation of power by people in the authority and so forth. We would love to hear in a novel and realistic style how some members of the society are using their positions and power to live a luxurious life while others are starving ; we want them to be identified , trapped, and then exposed to the public as they really are with unmistakable evidences about their corrupt practices. The duty of the journalist is not to be complacent with reporting alone.In fact, he can be involved in spying, tracing , trapping and then reporting as long as the intention is to serve the welfare of the society and to create a healthy world order.

People are keen to see in a plain language a story that adequately, and appropriately reflects their suffering. People are in need to see their spiritual ideology printed in a clear and elevating idiom,a language that can ventilate their pent-up feelings that have been suppressed for a long time and allow them to revolt against the tyrants of corruption. Words always make heroes and protagonists, words make a lot of things from nothing. These are the apt weapons that I am talking about; I don't want to see the powerful armoury, vainly hanging on the writer's minds. Writers and journalists must practice their rights and freedom with consummate courage and skill so as to make their readers ,through their writings, discover the fountain of strength along with the will to act and the will to win. They must not allow the concept of the press freedom to be nothing but just a fallacy. They have always to remember that the freedom of the press is geared to benefit them. If they feel constrained to express themselves, should they expect free people to read them?

I wish to see writers address issues of a serious nature that people are faced with in their daily life . I have heard a lot of people talking about regionalism that unfairly endows some with the right to enjoy status, positions and advantages just because they came from a particular area of the country. How can a particular region give some people the distinctive advantages of education, prestigious positions, scholarships, investments over others in a society where in the eyes of law all people are guaranteed equality in terms of rights and duties. Even worse, how come the press doesn't address such a pertinent issue that concerns every body . Are they waiting till the issue became explosive? Press must extensively and intensively talk about all the issues a society is suffering from irrespective of their degree of sensitivity . Important issues must not be left unattended in the name of ideology. Such issues must be debated in public because that is what the people want . Otherwise, the message writers are supposed to convey would be sidelined and it would leave readers bewildered which ,I consider ,a very serious crime.