The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS), today, 19 February, brought together one of the most representative meetings in Yemen of journalists, unions representatives, media organisations and government officials. Entitled "Media Safety in Yemen; Coordination Meeting of National Actors in Yemen", the conference took place in the wake of increased attacks against journalists in recent weeks including broadcasters, reporters and other media workers who have been abused, beaten up and threatened, and others who escaped kidnapping by unidentified gunmen.
Addressing government representatives, IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, recalled the numerous acts of violence across the country against journalists and urged them to act as a matter of urgency to guarantee the safety of journalists.
"Despite many promises, your government continues to fail in their duty to hunt down the killers of journalists murdered in Yemen and those who continue to be under attack," said Boumelha. "Many deaths are recorded without serious investigation and it is your responsibility to pay more attention to the safety crisis facing journalists and media and to prevent, investigate and punish crimes against journalists."
Participants included many media representatives, directors and editors in chief and most of journalists who took part in the 7th training workshop organised by the IFJ, in conjunction with its affiliate since 2011, which has trained 140 journalists as well as two leading trainers.
Last December, the IFJ trained 40 women journalists following the abduction and beating of the correspondent for Al Maserah TV in Aden, Saraa al Shehary, which highlighted the challenges facing women, including threats and intimidation.
Addressing media owners, Boumelha called on them to invest in the safety of journalists working in hostile environments, such as the provision of special protection equipment, insurance and regular advisories which ought to be included in collective agreements.
The conference took place in the wake of the National Dialogue conference which gathered together all the segments of Yemeni society to set a new direction for the country.
Boumelha stressed the need to build a culture of safty and respect of press freedom enshrined in stronger national laws including criminal laws and overhaul of the justice system to end impunity and provide judicial and legislative assistance to prevent serious violations of international humanitarian laws including the targeting of journalists.
"Journalism will never be 100 per cent safe, but we will always be working with our member union at the frontline of making journalism safer." he said.
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The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries