The safety of journalists in Yemen has deteriorated since the start of 2015 amid fighting between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition.
Already in April it was clear that urgent measures needed to be taken following the Houthis’ occupation of media houses in the capital, Sana'a, forcing journalists to either leave or to follow the Houthi's editorial line. Most reporters have since fled Sana'a as the increasingly precarious and hostile atmosphere towards independent journalists grew.
The IFJ’s affiliate in the country, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), has recently launched a report which records around 200 cases of violations against press freedom this year, including 10 journalists killed, 9 imprisoned who have been badly tortured, most of Yemeni media outlets banned, shut, blocked or taken over by rebels.
Furthermore, the leader of Ansar Allah Movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, recently published a video message in which he described journalists and intellectuals as “traitors who are more dangerous to the country than the mercenary fighters,” adding that “something must be done to face them.” The video which was broadcast on Almasirah TV on 19 September represents an incitement to the group’s followers to harass critical voices in Yemen.
The IFJ is highly concerned about the safety of kidnapped and tortured journalists but also about the wellbeing of their colleagues who struggle to leave the country, are prevented from working and consequently not getting paid, all of whom now face violence following the video.
Therefore, the IFJ launched last month the End Oppression and Incitement against Yemen Journalists campaign, aiming at:
- raising awareness worldwide about the drastic deterioration of the safety of journalists in Yemen,
- calling for an immediate release of our colleagues held in custody without charges, - building an international support network amongst IFJ affiliates and beyond for Yemeni journalists and their families,
- urging the UN to hold the authorities in Yemen accountable for the safety of the journalists working in the country, in line with the Security Council Resolutions 1738 (2006) and 2222 (2015).
More information about the campaign here.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries