Ten private TV channels compete for the Yemeni Public’s attention
Recently, media television competition in Yemen has significantly increased, with te
n Yemeni non-governmental TV channels fiercely competing to attract the Yemeni public.
Several TV channels have already been established, while others wait to be televised in the coming months after staffs have been trained.
Most private channels operate abroad and are only allowed to open coordination offices within Yemen, Abd Al-Basit Al-Qaedi, and secretary of the Information Minister, told the Yemen Times.
At the moment, only one private channel airs in Yemen, Yemen Today. The channel is believed to belong to Ali Abdullah Saleh's son and influential military leader Ahmed Ali Saleh.
“Any private television channel which airs in Yemen is operating illegally; the law to open up private televised channels has not yet been issued as it would need time for the matter to be discussed and endorsed,” said Al-Qaedi.
“Until now, no licenses have been issued to open private televised channels in Yemen,” he added.
Following are brief profiles of the competing channels:
Al-Saeeda variety TV
The pilot broadcast of Al-Saeeda variety TV, considered the first Yemeni non-governmental channel, began broadcasting from Cairo in August 2007. Al-Saeeda is owned by Dr. Hamid al-Shamiri, and Mukhtar Al-Gadasi serves as the channel's managing and executive director.
Al-Saeeda televises political programs and a variety of debates around the clock, hosts figures from different political parties, and also televises several live programs. Since its inception, the channel has been broadcast without interruption.
The Suhail channel became particularly well-known for its opposition of Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime. It began broadcasting from London in May of 2009, and is owned by businessman Hamid al-Ahmar, a prominent leader of the Islah political party. The channel is run by Dr. Muhammed Gayzan, the channel's manager since it was first established. Suhail has had an influential role in the Yemeni revolution, which broke out in February, 2011. Most programs on Suhail concern politics, and live shows are often broadcast from “Change Squares” around the country.
Aden live TV
Aden live TV began broadcasting from London in February, 2009. It serves as an extension of the Southern Movement, which demands the secession of south Yemen from the north. The channel is currently run by Abdu Al-Nasir Al-Jafari, and broadcasts from Beirut, Lebanon.
For his part, Fathi bin Lizerg, editor-in chief of the Adenalghad news website says that Southern Movement leader Ali Salim al-Bidh funds the channel.
Al-Aqiq TV is owned by Faris al-Sanabani and was first run by Anwar Al-Ashwal. Al-Sanabani served as press secretary for former president Saleh, and Al-Ashwal, served as manager for national channel Yemen TV programming. It began broadcasting from Cairo in January, 2010.
Al-Aqiq is currently run by Hamadi al-Rajihi, a correspondent for Sana'a-based Al-Ettijah TV. It broadcasts a variety of political and non-political programs. It largely tends to favor Saleh’s regime, despite the fact that it has at times hosted regime opponents on its programs.
Yemen today TV
Yemen Today began its official broadcasting on January 1st 2012, following four months pilot broadcasts. Ahmed Badwilan is the channel's executive director, and it is owned by Republican Guard leader Ahmed Ali Saleh. It represents the prevailing views of the General Peoples Congress political party. Yemen FM radio is part of this channel. Media observers claim that the channel was established to serve as a media outlet for remnants of the former regime. Yemen Today TV is viewed as a primary competitor of Suhail TV.
Yemen Shabab TV
Yemen Shabab's first program was broadcast from Sana'a's Change Square in September, 2011. The channel's managing director, Dr. Wisam Al-Girshi, is also the spokesperson of the revolution's organizing committee. The channel is currently run by Khalid al-Sabri.
The bulk of the channel's programming has come in the form of programming covering Yemen's revolution.
Yemen Shabab was scheduled to start broadcasting in February of this year. However, financial and administrative problems hindered the channel's broadcasts and its overall success.
Azal TV's first broadcast came in October of 2011. The channel is owned by Sheikh Naji Al-Shayif, a pro-Saleh sheikh. Its managing director is Saleem Al-Ward. The channel has faced difficulties because of its insufficient staff.
Al-Dhiya was introduced in December of 2011, and is understood to be owned and run by members of the Houthi movement. However, Mohammed Hameed, spokesperson of the Al-Sumood (Al-Houthi) youth at Sana'a's Change Square, denied this to be true in a statement made to the Yemen Times, and said that the Houthis don't have a TV channel and that the owner of the Al-Dhiya channel is unknown to him.
Al-Masirah TV is owned by members of the al-Houthi movement and is scheduled to begin broadcasting soon. “Al-Masirah TV is owned by the Houthis. It is awaiting the completion of broadcast material...following which, the official broadcast date will be announced.” Said the spokesperson
Al-Saha’at TV is currently run by media specialist Mona Safwan. This month, Safwan has been training ten Yemeni media specialists to be the TV’s personnel. The channel is set to begin broadcasting in the near future.