Yemen Times regional conference on role of free media Free media, safety valve for improved economic performance [Archives:2003/669/Business & Economy]

September 18 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Over three days, 13-15 September Yemen Times newspaper in cooperation with Friedrich Fbert Foundation the regional conference on “Role of The Free Arab Media in Economic Development”, through discussing working papers and studies the goals of which where summarized in answering a number of queries.
Among the most important questions where whether there is free Arab media and the pattern of relationship of governments with them and also to what extent free media instruments influence economic, trade and investment development.

Partnership towards development
At the opening session of the conference the Editor -in- Chief of the Yemen Times Walid Al-Saqqaf stressed that the conference carried a grand slogan i.e. media partnership towards development, aims at calling the attention of decision-makers in the Arab governments to the significance of involving media in development through liberating their instruments and granting them due authorities to play the aspired role in developing economic performance.

Free media among democratic pillars
Dr. Paul Pusch, representative of the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung foundation in Yemen, has emphasized the importance of media coordinated role with Arab governments for economic development saying the free media is one of the pillars of proper democratic system. Chairman of Yemeni journalists syndicate Mahboob Ali said freedom of the journalist from fear and fate, is the beginning of his freedom from the unknown, confirming that free media would mean free society. During sessions of the conference several premises had been discussed, the most important ones were:
– Arab media and development
– Arab media as analyst & observer
– Arab government relation with Arab free media
– Influence of professional journalism and electronic free Arab media in economic development
– Free Arab media and developed countries
Those premises have concentrated on the importance convincing the governments on the necessity of providing freedom of media for supporting economic development and surmounting the state of existing enmity between free media and governments. The studies have been unanimous on the importance that Arab governments purpose transparency as being an introduction to public liberties and democracy. The studies also put stress on the fact that developing awareness is what the free media should do.
The researches also called for freeing press from all restraints imposed on them, legally, politically and economically so that journalists can work without chains in service of the society and democratic, political and economic change as well as enhancing and respect others ideas and opinions.
Studies confirmed the importance of depending journalist professionalism, credibility and independence in economic reports. And also pointed out that Arab media was lacking of the freedom of initiative and experience, suffering from instructions and strong subservience.
Arab media is also put aside from taking part in drawing up comprehensive policy for programs related to issues of economy and politics.
Participants of the Arab free media conference have also discuss and stressed on the necessity of mitigating calls for political exaggeration and not to lean tools subservience and increase in publishing entertainment programs.
A working paper presented by researcher Mohammed Al-Sabri from Sana'a University emphasized importance of role played by organization and donor countries in supporting media to participate in the process of development the researcher has also touched on free media role in preparing a climate of transparency and political and social tolerance for building a civil society in the Arab homeland.
Studies have also put stress on the necessity of benefiting from countries that succeeded in granting freedom to media with the purpose of supporting spheres of economic development and attainment objectives targeted from sustainable developments.
This conference has represented the first Arab media activity, calling attention of Arab governments to imperativeness of lifting their hands off media instruments and not to shackle them with narrow-scoped policies and also to allow them taking part in developing masses awareness and engaging the society in Arab economic, trade, and investment leading to comprehensive Arab economic integration.