End Oppression and Incitement against Yemeni Journalists
The safety of journalists in Yemen has deteriorated since the start of 2015 amid fighting between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition. Already in April it was clear that urgent measures needed to be taken following the Houthis' occupation of media houses in the capital, Sana'a, forcing journalists to either leave or follow the Houthis' editorial line. Most reporters have since fled Sana'a as the increasingly precarious and hostile atmosphere towards independent journalists grew.
The IFJ’s affiliate in the country, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), has recently launched a report which records around 200 cases of violations against press freedom this year, including 10 journalists killed, 14 imprisoned from whom at least 9 have been badly tortured by Houthis, most of Yemeni media outlets banned, shut, blocked or taken over by rebels.
Furthermore, the leader of Ansar Allah Movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, recently published a video message in which he described journalists and intellectuals as “traitors who are more dangerous to the country than the mercenary fighters,” adding that “something must be done to face them.” The video which was broadcast on Almasirah TV on 19 September represents an incitement to the group’s followers to harass critical voices in Yemen.
Finally, another video broadcasted the 10th of October shows a TV crew working for Balqis TV which came under the Houthis' fire. The team survived but the driver was injured. This footage shows the precarious working conditions of Yemen journalists and the need for supporting and training media workers on the ground.
The IFJ is highly concerned about the safety of kidnapped and tortured journalists but also about the wellbeing of their colleagues who struggle to leave the country, are prevented from working and consequently not getting paid, all of whom now face violence following the video.
Therefore, our End Oppression and Incitement against Yemen Journalists campaign aims at:
- raising awareness worldwide about the drastic deterioration of the safety of journalists in Yemen,
- calling for an immediate release of our colleagues held in custody without charges,
- building an international support network amongst IFJ affiliates and beyond for Yemeni journalists and their families,
Marwan Dammaj, General Secretary of the Yemen Journalists' Syndicate (YJS)
Join our campaign on Twitter using #yemenpress and spread your voice!
Visit the IFJ's Middle East & Arab World site HERE.
BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS AND LINKS
You will find below the different communication materials used during the campaign:
• IFJ's letter to the UN Special Envoy in Yemen
- Yemen's profile for the IFJ's #endimpunity 2015 campaign
- Statement of the International Partnership for Yemen
- IFJ Safety Advisory on Yemen
- Programme of the 'International Partnership for Yemen Supporting Journalism and Freedom of Expression on the Front Line' next 26th October in Brussels, co-organised and hosted by the IFJ
- IFJ letter to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, leader of Ansar Allah Movement, with the Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Yemen in copy
- YJS's report over 200 cases of press violation in Yemen during the first half of 2015
- List of the 14 journalists kidnapped by Houthis- 9 of them last 9th June in Sanaa - with their profiles and the circumstances of their detention
- IFJ statistics and information on media safety in Yemen
- IFJ letter to the UN Security Council, together with other IFEX members
The IFJ has been monitoring the media crackdown in Yemen since mid-2014. Have a look at the press releases and news we have published about the issue:
12.01.16: Yemen: journalist escapes murder attempt
02.10.14: IFJ demands respect for media in Yemen
For any further inquiries, please contact the IFJ Communication and Campaigns Department (EN/FR/ES).esti.ortiz(at)ifj(dot)org
+32 (0)2 235 22 17 // +32 (0)4 7913 86 82
ICRC 24 hours/day Hotline for Assistance to Journalists:
+41 79 217 32 85/ +41 22 730 3443