Yemeni Journalists Report Corruption…Dream On.

An article about the role of Yemeni journalism in exposing corruption. Unfortunately, antidefamation/slander laws are a HUGE problem for Yemen’s journalism community, as they cripple the whole whole industry. It is so bad, that self-censorship is a routine part of every journalists job. You can get a real feeling of the way the government, and amazingly, even the industry itself views the threat of slander in the comments of the NACA Chairman. Even the journalists syndicate has a ways to go in this regard.

Quick story: Last time I was in Yemen there was a big uproar over some untrue statements reported in one paper about a female journalist at another paper. The syndicate got together to protest, and what did they do…they burned a bunch of issues of the offending paper. Hah! The irony was obviously lost on them.

Anyway, al Anisi is crazy if he thinks the journalists will do any investigative reporting on corruption…they don’t want to get sued for a bundle, or worse…Khaiwanied.    

Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority Ahmad Al-Anisi said in a statement published by 26 September Weekly a couple of weeks ago that press will be one of the sources and references that help in exposing corruption and corrupt individuals. He set a condition that press should play an integral role in resolving such a phenomenon in light of authentic and correct facts without any fabrications or invented facts.

Having something to do with press’s role in fighting corruption, such a vision, which is revealed by Chairman of the National Anti-corruption Authority, necessitates that press and pressmen in particular should review and assess their professional performance over the past time period. Then it entails that press and pressmen have to prepare themselves for a new phase with much more seriousness and professionalism, as well as abide by the criteria of moral and social responsibility, within the frame of which any professional journalist works, in order for journalism to remain genuine, highly respected and maintain its prestigious status.Recently, much of our media-related discussions have involved multiple questions about the role, which journalism, as a fourth authority, should play in resolving community’s issues and contributing to reforming any infringements that usually hold up progress of administrative and economic development. The fourth authority is also expected to play a greater role in enlightening peoples’ minds, spreading their awareness, enriching readership with knowledge and new information, and conveying news and facts to readers honestly and objectively.
Some people had been insisting on their black vision toward the reality of journalism in Yemen and its future, as it is often said that what the press publishes is merely ink on papers and has nothing to do with any agencies and channels concerned with surveying and resolving daily issues. They are of the opinion that the press has no effective influence on government’s executive bodies. They say that the press is needed to contribute to convincing government’s agencies how significant effective laws are in tackling any social and political issues.

After Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority declared that press can function as a reference, as well as an approach to detecting corruption cases, we then pin a greater hope that what the press publishes, specifically any articles criticizing corruption and performance of government agencies, be looked at seriously while credibility and objectivity of its content must be verified.

Based on such a great responsibility, NACA won’t accept any use of journalism as a means to confuse its work and slander others without any credible and authentic facts. Any journalist, who once resorted to reporting incorrect stories with the purpose of defamation, must be treated like any corrupt individual against whom NACA may take tough procedures for his involvement in any embezzlement of public money or extortion.

At this point, I would like to remind the esteemed readership of the significance of understating the new role of journalism that requires professionalism and abidance by the criteria of credibility and objectivity in reporting facts. While reporting what happens, journalists must not be submissive to any pressures they may face. At this phase, a journalist must be honest in what he/she says, report genuine facts, and defend people’s interests and the national tenets. – YT 


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