IFJ Supports Journalists' Protests as Yemeni Government Reneges on Commitments to Improved Conditions

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its full support to Yemeni journalists' protests demanding the implementation of a pay rise and job descriptions as part of a campaign for improved working conditions across state owned media.

"The issues of pay and job descriptions goes to the heart of guaranteeing journalists' conditions in the work place," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "Decent standards in the news room are essential for decent standards of news reporting ."

According to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate leading the campaign, up to 1500 journalists working for four government-owned media, the Saba News agency, the El Tharwa, the Al Jumhureya newspaper and the 14 Octobernewspaper started a week long protest after the government reneged on a commitment to improve the contracts in 2010. 

The government agreed to the pay rise and improved contracts following negotiations with the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate in early 2009 which ended an earlier partial strike of journalists working in the four media groups who had observed a work stoppage of one hour per day for one week. They were due to be implemented this year but have been left out of the general budget for 2010.

The YJS has warned that striking journalists, who are wearing red badges this week to mark the campaign, intend to escalate their industrial action unless their demands are met. The next step will be a partial strike followed by a total walk out, says the YJS. 

The IFJ has called on the Yemeni Government to avoid further delay of this measure which was personally endorsed by the Head of State.

"The IFJ and its affiliates will hold the Government to the agreement reached with the YJS on decent working conditions for journalists," added Boumelha. "There has been enough dithering on their job descriptions and now is the time to deliver on this undertaking." 

For more information contact the IFJ at   +32 2 235 2207   

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide