Yemeni TV raises awareness about extremism

By Faisal Darem in Sanaa

Sanaa residents gather to watch television together during Ramadan. [Faisal Darem/Al-Shorfa]

Sanaa residents gather to watch television together during Ramadan. [Faisal Darem/Al-Shorfa]

Yemeni television channels are raising public awareness about the dangers of extremism and violence by way of religious programming and dramas aired during Ramadan, media professionals told Al-Shorfa.

A number of channels address these issues through various weekly programmes and series, said Ahmed al-Zarqa, director general of Belqees satellite channel, a political news outlet.

Human rights-focused programmes such as "Al-Militia Marrat min Huna" (The militia passed through here) and "Lasta Wahdak" (You are not alone) also touch on the crimes committed against civilians, he told Al-Shorfa.

The channel also airs weekly programmes that explore the violence of extremist groups, such as "Bayn Qawsain " (In Parenthesis) and "Al-Agenda" (The Agenda), he said.

Television channels address terrorism both directly and indirectly, al-Zarqa said, with dramas and series generally favouring an indirect approach.

"Both approaches are suitable depending on the case, with the direct approach being faster -- especially in the case of news programmes," he said.

Religious programmes refute terrorism

Al-Saeeda programming director Mukhtar al-Qudsi said his channel airs content that addresses the need to reject extremist ideology and intolerance.

The channel broaches these topics in the drama "Hammi Hammak" (My worry is your worry) that is airing for the eighth consecutive year, he said.

The channel also airs religious programmes that directly refute terrorism, he said.

Mufti of Yemen Sheikh Mohammed al-Amrani answers questions submitted by viewers through his programme, he said, while a programme of religious lectures is hosted by Islamic scholar Sheikh Habib Omar Bin Hafeez.

Sheba TV also works directly "to raise awareness about the dangers of terrorism and extremism", channel director Waleed al-Nashiri told Al-Shorfa.

"The preferred approach to shedding light on terrorism, its dangers and how to confront it is the direct approach, in order for the media message to reach the Yemeni viewer in full," he said.

The channel tackles extremist thought through direct religious guidance to viewers via the programme "Mafaheem Qur'aniyyah" (Quranic concepts).

Sheba TV also raises awareness by airing "segments on the terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) groups in Yemen", al-Nashiri said.

The segments show how the group has targeted and killed soldiers and civilians, both in Yemen and abroad, he said, and serve to warn viewers against extremist groups that engage in acts of terrorism that wreak havoc and distort Islam.

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