Yemen: 112 media freedom violations during 2020

The Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) has documented 112 cases of violations of media and journalists’ rights in 2020, including killings, torture, kidnappings, arrests and bans. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands in solidarity with Yemeni media workers and joins its affiliate in warning warring parties against intolerable attacks against the media.

Journalists and mourners lift placards and banners during the funeral of TV reporter Adib al-Janani who was killed in an attack on Aden airport. Credits: AHMAD AL-BASHA / AFP

In its annual report on press freedom violations in Yemen, the YJS again identifies Yemen’s internationally recognized government of President Hadi and the Houthis who lead the de facto government in Sana as those mainly responsible for the attacks against media workers. The government committed 44% of all registered violations while the Houthi group was responsible for 29.5% of the violations. Unknown individuals committed 13 violations ( 11.6%) and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) committed 12 (10.7%).

The YJS reported 33 (29.5%) cases of kidnappings and arrests in addition to 22 cases (19.6%) of threats and incitement against journalists. Thirteen cases (11.6%) of bans and confiscation of material and equipment and 10 cases (8.9%) of prosecution and investigation were reported.  In addition, 10 cases (8.9%) of journalists being suspended from their job and 7 cases (6.3%) of torture were reported. Six cases (5.4%) of assaults and 3 cases (2.7%) of murder were documented. 

One of the most dangerous countries for journalists

Since the beginning of the civil war in Yemen in 2015, the country has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. The war, which is often considered as a “forgotten war”, has very little international media coverage due to attempts to silence independent reporting, which has resulted in a news deficit.

The crimes that Yemeni journalists suffer daily range from targeted killings, imprisonment, attacks on media houses, shutdown of media and confiscation of newspapers to death threats, harassment, torture and murders. Today, thirteen journalists remain kidnapped, of which eleven were seized by the Houthis. Some of them have been held for more than five years.

The latest crime against a Yemeni journalist happened on December 30, when a TV journalist was killed in a missile attack on Aden Airport. It is still unclear who is behind the attack and nobody has claimed responsibility for it.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The YJS annual report reveals the extremely difficult and dangerous context in which Yemeni journalists do their job. On top of this, the level of impunity for crimes against journalists in Yemen is obscenely high, something the IFJ has repeatedly condemned. The authorities must take action to stop the targeting of journalists and media".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News