First Commissioner Named by President in Yemen

10 May 2013

Yemen President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadion May 6 appointed Samir Amin Noman as the country’s first  information commissioner

The appointment came about a year after passage of the new FOI law.

Noman is an information systems specialist and previously worked for the Social Fund for Development, according to an article in the Yemen Times.

“We need to establish information units in every governmental institution,” he told the Yemen Times. Said, also saying that there is no budget for such units this year. 

The new commissioner is temporarily running his office from the presidential compound.

“Information had been hidden for years and this contributes to the spread of corruption,” Ahmed Al-Zikri, the chairman of Yemen Organization for Promoting Integrity (OPI) said in the article. He also said, “Officials considered information a secret of the state.”

“The commissioner can question any officials including ministers,” Parliamentarian Abdul-Moez Dabwan was quoted as saying in the Yemen Times. “He urged the commissioner to exercise his “great powers” to boost the culture of social accountability,” the article said.

Noman is not well-known in the media community according to Mostafa Nasr, a journalist and the head of Studies and Economic Center, who was quoted as saying, “We would keep observing his performance during the next days.” “We need a strong information commissioner who can put pressure on the governmental institutions to expose information,” said Nasr.

The law was approved last June. (See report.) Under the law, Yemen’s president and new Commissioner-General for Information were tasked with enacting executive regulations within six months.

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