Yemen lacking cultural news
State-backed Al-Jomhoria newspaper stopped issuing their special cultural section, a well-known supplement that addressed different cultural issues elite Yemenis used to cover.
Ali Al-Moqri, a Yemeni writer, tries to make sure Yemeni newspapers pay attention to political issues. He said many Yemeni journalists who write about cultural issues are not qualified.
“A few years ago, there were specialized writers for cultural issues,” Al-Moqri said. “The 14th of October Newspaper was writing about different cultural issues including theater, short stories and novels, but now there is no specialization in the cultural arena.”
Despite the large number of online newspapers, almost none address cultural issues in Yemen.
“Many newspapers in Yemen don’t pay attention to cultural issues,” Al-Moqri said. “The cultural pages in these newspapers are often canceled by the newspaper’s administration.”
He said advertisements and national holidays are the sole focus of many Yemeni newspapers. But, he added, there are many readers in Yemen who don’t care about political issues; they want to know about cultural news.
Marib Al-Ward, a journalist for Al-Sahwa Net, said there are only two cultural foundations in Yemen, the Al-Afif Cultural Foundation in Sana’a and the Al-Saeed scientific and cultural foundation in Taiz. These two foundations try to cover the gap created by many of the official newspapers.
Al-Ward said many cultural journalists in Yemen end up writing for other Arab and Gulf newspapers, as they prioritize cultural issues more than Yemeni newspapers.
A revolution is needed
Mohiee Al-Deen Jormah, a poet and writer, said he regrets that Yemeni newspapers don’t pay enough attention to cultural issues. He said people should pay more attention to culture because, in the aftermath of 2011’s political unrest, national concepts and interests need to change.
Al-Moqri is hopeful that cultural journalism in Yemen will further develop. He said he advises students who study in the Mass Media College to enroll in professional specializations to improve cultural journalism in Yemen.
“No one in Yemen pays attention to experience,” he said.