Press Freedom

The parties to the conflict increasingly regard the media as a major enemy, the report said

Report: Yemen witnessed 143 violations against journalists and the media in 2019

The Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO) documented 143 violations against journalists and media organizations in Yemen in 2019.

The violations against journalists included two killings, six abductions, 15 arrests, 30 assaults and 20 threats. In 49 other cases, journalists were referred for prosecution and authorities ordered the confiscation of property from 25 journalists and media outlets.

YMFO said journalists in Yemen are operating in an increasingly hostile environment due to systematic repression by the parties to the conflict, which increasingly regard the media as one of their major enemies.

Illegal practices against journalists have intensified  in Sana’a over the past year, the report said, noting that the Houthis refuse to release journalists who have been imprisoned for more than four years in some cases.

Meanwhile, parties affiliated with Yemen’s internationally recognized government have arrested journalists in areas under their control, including the governorates of Taiz, Aden, Shabwa and Hadramout, according to the report.

The Houthis topped the list of violations against journalists with 75 of the 143 cases recorded last year. 37 violations were attributed to Yemeni government parties, 16 violations by unknown individuals, seven cases by forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council and one case by the Saudi-led coalition.

Media organizations were also subjected to various violations, including four cases of looting media property, one case of breaking into the Yemeni news agency Saba in Aden, and four attacks on the buildings of the following newspapers: October 14th, Al-Share’a, Aden al-Ghad and Huna Aden.

International silence has encouraged the targeting of brutality against journalists, including murders, torture and threats, the report said.

The geographical distribution of violations were as follows: 72 in Sana'a city, 31 in the city of Taiz, 16 in Aden, seven in Hadhramout governorate, six in Al-Dhale governorate, four in Al-Jawf, two violations each in the governorates of Hajjah, Shabwa and Al-Mahra, and one violation in Abyan governorate.

The report said that a total of 18 journalists remain imprisoned by Al-Qaeda, the internationally recognized government and the Houthis. The Houthi have refused to release 16 of those journalists. In December, Houthis started a trial for 10 of those journalists.



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