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100 attacks on journalists in Yemen

July 4, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Some 100 cases of media freedom violations have been recorded in the first half of 2018 by the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) reported yesterday.

“The statistics show that the systematic war on the media and press freedom continues in a hostile and violent manner by all sides” of the Yemen conflict, the YJS said in its report. The YJS recorded 100 cases impacting journalists, including the targeting of media organisations.

Journalists endured the threat of kidnappings, arrest, torture, blocking of news sites and suspension of salaries according to YSJ. Some 47 of the 100 cases were attributed to the Yemen government, which reportedly took place in government buildings and security bases.

The report goes on to blame the Houthis for 39 cases, while attributing six to the Saudi-led coalition and eight to unknown group or individuals.

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According to the YSJ, 27 journalists have been killed since the Yemen civil war began in late 2014. Twelve are being held captive by the Houthi group, while one other is being held hostage by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In March 2018, the Houthi group released two journalists after almost two years of detention.

Early this week, Fathi Bin Lazraq, the editor of Yemen-based newspaper Aden Tomorrow, was abducted in the south of the country. Social media users reporting his abduction, which mounted incredible awareness surrounding the case. Lazraq was released less than 24 hours later by an unidentified group of armed personnel.

Human rights workers have similarly endured harassment, imprisonment and abduction in Yemen. Last month, Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih, two human rights defenders with the Mwatana Organisation for Human Rights, were detained unlawfully by authorities operating in the government-controlled Seiyun City Airport. They were later released after mounting pressure by human rights groups worldwide.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi fighters overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.