More than 350 journalists in Yemen lost their jobs after Houthi rebels invaded media agencies and newspapers and confiscated equipment, a media report has revealed.
The Yemeni Studies and Economic Media Centre explained in a report published on Wednesday that “according to the Secretary General of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, the number of journalists who lost their jobs has increased by 300 people last month.”
The report pointed to the decline of media freedom in Yemen after Houthi rebels took control of a number of Yemeni governorates.
According to the report, as many as 87 cases of violations were documented during the months of June and July, including kidnapping, physical assault, arrest, injury, and the storming and looting of media and press institutions.
The report pointed out that 46 per cent of the documented violations (equal to 40 cases) were instances of physical assault and threat, followed by 36 cases of kidnapping, 8 cases of intrusion and looting and 3 cases of injury.
The report added that the “Houthi group and rebels loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh committed a majority, or 93 per cent, of the documented violations against media personnel in Yemen, while 3.5 per cent of the violations were committed by coalition forces and government agencies and 3.5 per cent of the violations were committed by the Al-Qaeda militant group.”
According to the report, a majority of the violations were committed in Shabwah province, the last province to fall under Houthi control.
The report pointed out that “the state of media in Yemen has improved following the outbreak of the Popular Revolution in 2011, where the number of media agencies both visual and audio has increased.”
“16 new TV channels, 13 community radio stations and more than 300 websites were opened in that period,” the report notes
However, “this improvement in media freedom did not last long following the Houthis invasion of the capital Sana’a last September and the subsequent conflicts that have resulted in stopping 14 channels which resorted mostly to working from outside Yemen,” it added.
Ten local radio stations have been shut down and most of independent and nonpartisan websites have been blocked, the report notes.
No comment was provided by the Houthi group and forces loyal to ousted President Saleh regarding the information contained in the report.