Cover (South24 Center)

The Reality of Political Television Discourse in South Yemen


Tue, 13-06-2023 06:48 PM, Aden

The television media in South Yemen has been a victim of expansive political intentions that aimed at undermining the bases of Southern identity.

Aden (South24) 

A new study published on Saturday by "South24 Center" revealed that the reality of political television discourse in South Yemen broke the political and media blockade imposed on it locally and externally since the 1994 war that aimed to undermine the fulcrum of the "Southern identity". It managed to move the political discourse from "talking about the Southerners' grievances to drawing the landmarks of South state” which people there aspire to restore.

The analytical study, prepared by Mubarak Bin Hajeb, an expert in analyzing media discourse, provides a critical vision of the development phases of television political discourse in the governorates of South Yemen. It relies on analytical results of television interviews and reports which contain television political discourse by individuals as well as official and unofficial television media institutions that demonstrate human rights and political struggle in the governorates of South Yemen.

The study reached conclusions, the foremost of which is that "the television media in South Yemen has been a victim of expansive political intentions that aimed at demolishing the fulcrums of Southern identity.

The study said that the official and private media platforms turned a blind eye towards the Southerners' issues after the invasion of South Yemen in 1994. It explained how a part of this media has desperately sought to distract focus on South Yemen locally, regionally, and internationally. It also intended to fabricate or modify its historical facts and the parties responsible for this. However, the sudden change in the roles of the political and military game locally, regionally, and internationally, in addition to the success made by Southerners in exploiting this and imposing a new political and military reality in Southern governorates have led, according to the study, to break the taboos imposed on the Southern television political discourse locally, regionally and internationally.

"The television media in South Yemen has been a victim of expansive political intentions that aimed at undermining the bases of Southern identity."

The study sought to analyze the official and unofficial television political discourse of the popular movement in South Yemen’s governorates as well as monitoring the stages of overcoming the media blackout and isolation. They include the phase of the peaceful Southern Movement (Hirak) in 2007, the subsequent establishment of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in 2017, the signing of the Riyadh Agreement in 2019 till the Riyadh Consultations in April 2022.

The study made content criticism of 9 selected videos from television political discourse issued by the community and official movement in South Yemen and another one talking about it. The selected videos were broadcast by local television channels such as AIC TV (Aden Al-Mustaqila), Al-Ghad Al-Mushreq, and Saba in addition to Arab and Arabic-speaking foreign platforms including Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, and BBC News. The oldest video analyzed by the study dates back to 2007 while the newest one was broadcast in 2022. Moreover, the total duration of videos is 100 minutes and 44 seconds. 

The study outcomes 

This critical analytical study led to several important conclusions which demonstrate the status of television political discourse in South Yemen, the most important of which are:

- The television media in South Yemen has been a victim of expansive political intentions that aimed at undermining the bases of Southern identity in which tv political discourse serves as an authentic pillar in its cultural structure. The latter is rooted back into the deepest television media history in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab nation.

- The television political discourse in South Yemen's governorates was intended to be a scapegoat for Arab Nationalism and extremist religious slogans in the name of “unity” to terrorize opponents of the political Yemeni unity project between the two former states.

- There is a remarkable absence of strategic features and a unified vision for the Southern television political discourse between 2007 and 2014. For several factors, a state of weakness or confusion, or lack of clarity has dominated the scene. This includes presenting the main goals of the Southern Movement and re-designing it within a more conclusive and strict approach simultaneously. 

- Despite the violent restrictions imposed previously by Sanaa authorities on the Southern tv political discourse locally and externally as well as the subsequent misinformation about the South issue, the discourse has been able to resist these restrictions. This was achieved firstly through self-capabilities and by institutional and more professional capabilities later. 

- The acquisition of the official media institutions in South Yemen and seizing their historical archive by former Yemeni authorities led to selling them to foreign parties or hiding many historical facts or using some of them for political purposes to hit local communities and their opponents (authorities) in South Yemen.

- The official and unofficial television political discourse has become convinced, from a special perspective, of the impossibility to remain under the unified Yemeni state as an inevitable result of the wrong practices committed by the unity partner since the 1994 war. 

- After the establishment of the STC, the television political discourse in South Yemen's governorates has become a reflection of the increasing trust in the ability of Southerners to rebuild their state that existed until 1990.

- The presence of an inclusive national entity such as the STC in South Yemen has effectively contributed to the rapidly escalating changes of the tv political discourse in a way that copes with the drastic structural changes in the internationally recognized government of which Southerners have become a major part despite their limited capabilities in managing and influencing the official media of this government. 

- The Riyadh Agreement constitutes an official political gate for the Southern political television discourse to boldly move to the region and the whole world. It has contributed to adding moral and professional legitimacy to the Southern stances proposed on the Arab and international media platforms. 

- The Riyadh Consultations and the subsequent stage constituted a critical phase in the history of official Southern television discourse. The latter became clearer in proposing its media vision. It no longer speaks about the grievances of a people but discusses political, military, and strategic visions that interact with the interests of countries in the region and the world.

- The drastic changes in television political discourse in the Southern governorates were not only due to the changes in local political and military nature in Yemen and the region. Its main impetus has been the military and political power imposed by Southerners in South Yemen's governorates after they sincerely exploited helpful conditions.

The challenge of the television media discourse duality still exists due to the duplicity between the participation of the Southern parties in the current legitimate Yemeni authorities and the simultaneous adoption of a position that aspires for restoring their independent state.

- The Southern television media political discourse needs a wider and more accurate methodology in determining the concepts when discussing the strategic plans and submitting explanations about the South issue and the political aspirations of the Southern society to ensure not to modify the bases and principles of these aspirations by other parties as well as avoid flattening them.

- There is a remarkable rise by the Southern media to the top institutional media activities through the establishment of the National Authority of Southern Media. The latter has served as an official media umbrella. This is in addition to the different media sectors affiliated with it as well as the participation in official external media gatherings. This also includes holding the first Conference of Southern Journalists and the establishment of the Union for Southern Journalists.

- The Southern television media demonstrated a competitive maturity in preparing, presenting, and managing the television talk shows and opening wider horizons for Southern television including visions, experts, analysts, and Arab and foreign researchers.

- One reason behind the urgent media desire to create a different political reality in South Yemen is the failure of the Yemeni internationally-recognized government to find urgent solutions and treatments for the economic and political crises in the country, especially in South Yemen amid the lack of a clear horizon for a governmental vision in this path.

- The clear despair by Southern tv political media discourse towards making progress in confronting the Houthi militias in North Yemen by Northern military, political and community parties has made it more interested in seeking solutions for the problems of South Yemen’s governorates before anything else. 

- There is a remarkable disappearance of the linguistic terms in the television political discourse in South Yemen that express demands for stolen rights. They were replaced by sentences, phrases, paragraphs, seminars, and various programs talking about drawing the features of a future South state as well as military, political, and diplomatic gains that should be adhered to, maintained, and developed.
- The Southern television political discourse has provided a bigger horizon for partnership among the Southern entities, corrective messages of the past wrong policies, and a strategy based on the federalism of the desired state, its modernity, the privacy of each region, and respecting diversity and differences.

To read and download the full study for free, click the following link:

South YemenAICPolitical discourseMedia platform