IFJ Demands Respect for Media in Yemen

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), to call for all factions involved in the continuing violent unrest in Yemen to uphold and respect the rights and freedoms of media workers in the country.

The IFJ has issued the call following reports that the ‘Al Yemen El Yawm’ TV station, based in Yemen’s capital city, Sanaa, has now been closed for over three months. The Yemeni government closed the station in June accusing it of inciting rebellion against it.

Members of Hadi’s Presidential Guard stormed the television station which is affiliated to Abdullah Saleh, looting the building and confiscating equipment.

The IFJ has appealed to President Hadi to show his commitment to media freedom by ending the lengthy procedures that have prevented the station from broadcasting and to compensate staff for loss of wages during this period.

“We join the YJS to call for President Hadi and his forces to immediately bring an end to the measures they have taken to prevent the station from broadcasting,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. “The President and the relevant authorities in Yemen must also ensure that staff at the station, who are committed to doing their jobs as journalists and media workers, are properly compensated for the wages they have lost and the stress that has been caused to them.

“Political and military positions should not be used to undermine press freedom and freedom of expression. The rights and freedoms of the media in Yemen are protected by international law and media workers at the station must be allowed to broadcast without fear of intimidation or attack.”

The IFJ call follows a tumultuous period in Yemen where the situation for media workers has become increasingly precarious, with many reports of intimidation and violence against journalists.

During their recent offensive in Sanaa the Houthi group took control of a number of media stations in the city, confiscating equipment and detaining staff. Many stations, including the privately owned Suhail TV and state owned Yemen TV, Sheba TV and El Eman TV, remain under Houthi control.

The IFJ has issued a safety warning to journalists working in the region. “We are deeply concerned about the increasingly precarious situation for media workers in Yemen,” said Costa. “We call on all sides to uphold the right of journalists to do their jobs and we advise journalists working in Sanaa to stay safe and remain vigilant at all times.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries