The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has issued a desperate appeal for authorities in Yemen to take immediate and effective action to improve safety for media workers in the country following the latest spate of brutal attacks.
According to IFJ affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), an Al Arabiya TV crew was assaulted by security forces in the Yemeni capital Sana'a last Sunday, 2 March, while covering the arrival of vehicles carrying detainees at the city's Special Criminal Court. The four crew members were also verbally abused and prevented from covering the event, while their TV cameras were confiscated.
The assault against the Al Arabiya crew follows another vicious attack against Issam Sufiani, correspondent for the Saudi Arabia newspaper, Al Sharq, last Wednesday evening, 26 February. The YJS says he was kidnapped near his home in Taiz by three men in a Land Cruiser who claimed to be government officials. Sufiani says they took him to an isolated area outside the city where he was interrogated for three hours.
The IFJ call follows a major security conference held in Sanaa last week. Organised by the IFJ and the YJS, the conference brought together journalists, unions representatives, media organisations and government officials from across the country to discuss the issue of media safety in Yemen.
"At last week's conference I stated that it is the responsibility of the Yemeni government to pay more attention to the safety crisis facing journalists and media and to prevent, investigate and punish crimes against journalists," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "These brutal attacks in Yemen serve of the latest proof of that stance.
"We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Yemen to reiterate our demand that the country's government takes immediate action to increase protection for the safety and freedom of the country's journalists and media personnel," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "They must act now before more journalists lose their lives."
The YJS has condemned the "serious incidents" and demanded that Yemeni authorities carry out immediate investigations to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The union has also called for the crew's camera to be returned.
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries