CAJ could raise a torch to light the way of free journalism - Dali
Ashraf Aboul-Yazid is an Egyptian poet, novelist and journalist born in 1963. He is the Editor-in-Chief, THE SILK ROAD LITERATURE SERIES. He has been working in Cultural Journalism for more than 30 years. He authored and translated 35 books. Some of his novels and poetry volumes have been translated into English, Spanish, Turkish, Persian, Korean, Malayalam, Sindhi and German in more books. He was chosen the Man of Culture for the Year, 2012, Tatarstan, Russia. He won Manhae Grand Prize in Literature, 2014, the Republic of Korea. He won the Arab Journalism Award in Culture, 2015, UAE. Currently he is the president of Asia Journalist Association (since April 2016) and Vice President, Congress of African Journalists, North Africa Region.
How does it look like being a poet and at the same time a journalist?
The connection is the word, our tool and our honor. Words are our bridge to announce our identity. I started with poetry and journalism at a very early stage, but I crossed the boundaries of other forms of writings. So, my travels to 33 countries helped me in both writing my creative works and journalistic forms.
You are the president of Asia Journalist Association and Vice President CAJ, North Africa Region, how would you describe the practice in the Asia continent and Africa?
Asia and Africa have been connected for centuries, not only by conquers, travellers and businessmen, but by cultural bridges, as well. The common concept between the two continents was the sufferings they had because of the western colonization, and the global wars they were forced to face. After WWII their voices were not heard. News were only sent by the western media, we tried to have our Asian voices heard in Asia Journalist Association via our media portal in Arabic, English and Korean. Some other members have other portal in their own local languages. Asian journalists speak about Asia, so we need the same in Africa, no more foreign press to express us. We, African journalists, must speak of ourselves, as well.
How would you describe CAJ, a pan African journalists organization which you are a regional Vice President?
CAJ is a golden chance to achieve its target; improving the practice, protecting the practitioners. Due to many interior reasons, media men and women in Africa still lack the suitable treatment as the fourth authority. I think CAJ could raise a torch to light the way of free journalism and journalists. Our manifesto can get support by institutions and organization to help improving certain aspects in this mission.
What do you think are the benefits of journalists joining CAJ?
A united stronger voice, connecting individual journalists – who may belong to disputed countries – could help to more understanding. Truth and facts will be easier by getting help in the field of research. To know better; which is a factor of strength journalists need. I may dream of a pan-African passport to enable journalists travelling free of visas. All start with a dream and believer to sustain it, and make it real.
What are the particular issues you think CAJ is going to address in Africa?
Africa needs to join the scientific marathon the world going through. After the Pandemic era, we want science to help Africans getting their medicine and vaccines, not waiting gifts or donations. Also, we need a new Silk Road to connect African countries, not only commercially, but culturally, as well.
In your country; Egypt how would you describe the relationship of journalists with government?
In these days, the Egyptian press is showing a country in progress. The government is too busy building and national media is covering that. So, journalists must join the campaign. If not, they will not be considered. In the meantime, Egyptian society is divided, due to what the religious politics raised. I am opposing the radical Islamic rule, and too many journalists are similar to me. But, in the same time, I cannot neglect that there are journalists who are sponsored and supported by political enemies who are not welcomed or sent free to write or report.
Where do you hope to see CAJ in future?
I imagine CAJ being a bridge of ideas; suitable and helpful for Africa and its journalists.
Online platform must be established to promote such ideas and we must have seasons of ideas to promote.
Let’s start online, in Arabic, French and English, with workshops and forums.
Technology, science and health are top topics to deal with. Why not to have a channel on YouTube to talk on these themes from the journalistic points of view? What are the ways of improving the practice, protecting the practitioners? These topics must be discussed widely, openly and continuously.