01 July 2009

Yemeni Journalists Do What American Journalists Won't

The Yemeni government has cracked down on independent news agencies over the last few months, and has shut down seven of them. The government's latest target is the Yemen Post (English publication). It ordered the paper to cease cooperation with the international media. Here is the response of the paper's editor:
Over the last two weeks, the Yemen Post received numerous threats from different sides due to its coverage of the foreigners that were kidnapped and killed. The Yemen Post was the main independent source for 90% of the international media. Its comments were even given priority over the government and what it announced.

Last week, meetings took place between the Yemen Post and leading figures of the government. In the meetings, The Yemen Post was firmly asked not to work with international media outlets and to limit itself to local media. Direct threats were given. The option on the table was to agree to cooperate with the government whether it was right or wrong in what they announce. In the end, the Yemen Post refused.

It is sad that these people don’t understand that the job of media is not covering what it is asked of it to cover, but to cover the truth.

Yemen has not yet understood the difference between independent and governmental media, and the Yemen Post has vowed to show everyone the difference.

What I clearly want to say is that the Yemen Post is doing what it was established to do, and that is lead Yemeni media, raise its standards, and through its sources throughout the country, be able to serve not only Yemen, but the international community with concrete information about what is really happening.

Even with the threats we are given, the Post will not soften its stance and will work to be the most trusted local and international news source in Yemen.
Isn't it comforting to know that an independent news agency in the middle of an authoritarian dictatorship in the Middle Freaking East has the cajones to stand up to government pressure and report actual, well, news, while the American media lapdogs sit in Obama's pocket and only regurgitate the daily talking points, without doing any real reporting. Where are our media watchdogs that are supposed to help protect us against tyrannical government? It's going to be a daunting task for the American people to overcome a self-serving media AND an out-of-control government. It's time we hold these people accountable.

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