Yemen Press Day: An Occasion of Reflection on the Ordeals of Journalists

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-06-10 11:43 AM UTC


Yemeni journalists mark June 9th every year as Yemen Press Day. It is a day on which they review the challenges and narrate the ordeals of those working in the media in such a hostile environment.

The war on journalism in Yemen is a decade old, and it seems to linger as long as the military and political conflict remains unsettled. Violations against the media institutions and personnel have been diverse, including killing, threats and incitement, confiscation of properties, trials, summons, and even forced deportation.

Journalists in Yemen can be arrested for a post on social media platforms and can be tried without justification. They can be sentenced to years in prison or be exposed to a shooting in broad daylight on a busy street.

On Yemen Press Day, the information minister of the Yemeni government said, "The press and media institutions (governmental, partisan, civil) of all types (visual, audio, print) have been subjected to systematic and unprecedented targeting by the [Houthi] group. The media institutions were closed, and their equipment and furniture were looted, employees laid off, and journalists' lives became in danger."

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate says six Yemeni journalists remain detained by the parties to the conflict in Yemen. Three are detained in Sana'a: Wahid Al-Sufi, Nabil Al-Sadawi, and Abdullah Al-Nabhani. Journalists Ahmed Maher and Nasih Shaker are detained in Aden, and the fate of journalist Muhammad Qaid Al-Maqri remains unknown since his kidnapping in Hadramaut in 2015.

Last month, the Secretary-General of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Mohammed Shubaita, was exposed to gunfire in Sanaa, causing him a serious injury. One of his relatives was killed, and another was injured in the attack.

Shubaita has been receiving treatment at a Sanaa hospital. However, his health condition keeps deteriorating. The Syndicate called on authorities in Sanaa to facilitate his travel to receive medical care overseas. But it received no reply.

Throughout 2023, 54 violations against media freedoms were documented in several Yemeni provinces. The violations included detention, arrest, enforced disappearance, and interrogation and trial of journalists.

Forty-nine media people have been killed in Yemen since the fighting erupted between the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Houthi group in 2015, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate reported. Over the past nine years, one hundred sixty-five press platforms have stopped working, and 200 local and Arabic news websites have been blocked.

On Yemen Press Day, Yemeni journalists and human rights centers called on the parties to the conflict in the country to adhere to Yemeni laws and international standards that guarantee the protection of journalists and enable them to perform their duties safely.

Journalists and human rights activists called for ending the restrictions that hinder the work of journalists from performing their duty to convey the truth without threat or fear.

The Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations on all parties to the conflict, especially the Houthi group, to adhere to Yemeni laws and international standards that guarantee the protection of journalists.

According to reports by the Media Freedom Observatory, 2,542 violations have been committed against Yemeni journalists from 2015 to May 2024.