Yemen: YJS reports 22 press freedom violations in 3 months

The Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS) has detailed 22 violations of press freedom in the country between July and September 2020, ranging from arrests and threats to assaults and banned coverage. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate in warning warring parties against intolerable attacks against the press.

Mourners and protesters holding pictures of Yemeni journalist Nabil Hasan al-Quaety who was killed in June. Credits: AFP

In its latest report on press freedom violations in Yemen, YJS points again at 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 nearly half of all registered violations while the Houthi group is currently holding 16 journalists who were kidnapped, many of whom had been held for more than five years, according to the YJS..

Most of the incidents that occurred between July and September consisted of threats and incitements to hatred (6), arrests (5) and refusals to enforce court decisions (5). In addition, the union listed two assaults on journalists, two prosecutions, a case of banned media coverage and the confiscation of a journalist’s property.

The YJS  has condemned the continuing abductions of journalists who have exercised freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press as guaranteed in the Yemeni constitution. It demands the government and Houthi Group release all detained and kidnapped journalists and respect international laws and conventions guaranteeing media freedom.

A previous report published this year by the YJS showed 66 violations of press freedom in the first half of 2020.

The IFJ has repeatedly supported the YJS’s efforts to improve the situation of press freedom in Yemen and condemned abductions, threats and killings of journalists. In April, the IFJ sent a letter to UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, calling for support in its efforts to protect four journalists who are currently sentenced to death in Yemen.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “This latest report proves that press freedom remains under serious threat in Yemen and we find these attacks totally intolerable. It is particularly worrisome that the de facto government in Sana continues to lead the war against the media. We call on the warring parties to release all imprisoned journalists, drop the death sentences against journalists and provide for an environment where journalistic activity can be exercised without fear.”

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