The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)’s affiliate, the Yemen Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), has today launched a report on press freedom violations in the country during the first half of 2015. The launch, which took place at YJS’s headquarters in Sanaa, gathered a number of journalists, trade-union members and human rights’ activists.
The report’s findings confirmed the drastic deterioration of the media freedom environment, leading YJS’s General Secretary, Marwan Dammaj, to say that the situation is “extremely serious, we have not seen such attacks on the press in 25 years.”
In this latest press freedom report, covering the period January-June 2015, the YJS has recorded around 200 cases of violations against press freedom including threats, imprisonment, media outlets bans and media workers’ killings.
The report’s main conclusions include the following:
- 10 journalists killed
- 55 media workers arrested, kidnapped or prosecuted (27,5% of all attacks)
- 13 journalists still in prison
- Dozens of journalists fled to their villages or out of the country
- 48 cases of storming of newspapers and radio stations
- 21 cases of journalists threatened, harassed and/or victims of smearing campaigns in which they were accused of treason because of their work or for expressing their opinion. In some cases posters with their name and pictures were widely displayed in Sanaa
- 8 cases of journalists forced to stop working, threatened with dismissal and salary cuts by the Houthis
- Hundreds of state media’s workers affected by the same reason (Al Thawra, Saba, Yemen TV, Radio Sanaa)
- 16 cases of newspapers and media outlets shut and equipment confiscated
- 9 TVs shut down and 33 websites blocked
“The IFJ is looking very carefully and with lots of concerns at the media violations committed in Yemen during this year,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “We have repeatedly asked the warring parties to stop harassing journalists and treating them as spies or propagandists. The use of reporters or media outlets as military objectives is absolutely unacceptable. We stand by our affiliate in the country and by the journalists’ community as a whole in these difficult days and advocate for the immediate release of the colleagues who remain behind bars.”
The Houthi group is mainly responsible for these violations but other security forces and the coalition are involved in some of these cases, according to the YJS’s report.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries