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Ongoing challenges for news reporting in Yemen

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Ongoing challenges for news reporting in Yemen

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Almost a year since the beginning of uprisings in Yemen, death threats and attacks on Yemeni journalists and media personnel are ongoing.

Following the removal of former president Ali Abdallah Saleh's photo from its front page, the offices of Sana’a-based newspaper Al-Thawra's (Arabic for The Revolution) were surrounded on the 2nd of February by armed pro-Saleh demonstrators who prevented journalists from entering the building. The demonstrators later stormed the premises and supervised the work and preparation of the following day's issue. 

This incident is far from an exception. 

Two days after raiding Al-Thawra's offices, Saleh supporters surrounded the headquarters of Al-Jomhuryah newspaper in the city of Taiz, whose Sana’a bureau was attacked a day earlier by dozens of gunmen. Threats to shell the newspaper's offices have been reportedly received by the paper's editor, Samir Al-Yussoufi

Also in Taiz, journalist and independent newspaper editor Fakri Qassam, satirical writer Mohssein Aeyd, as well as Internet activist Sami Shamssan have all received threats following a fatwa issued earlier this month by senior clerics openly calling for their death and the closing down of their newspapers and websites. 

The fatwa also targeted writer and journalist Bashra Al-Moqtari for an article published on in which she expressed her disappointment at how people had allowed their revolution to be stolen. “Thieves have taken over the revolution of the Yemeni people,” Al-Moqtari wrote. “The tragedy of a slow death, a tragedy perpetrated by the political elites, religious leaders and soldiers.” 

Yemeni association Women Journalists Without Chains, chaired by Nobel prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, issued a statement last Monday denouncing the attacks and campaigns against journalists, inviting human rights groups and freedom of expression defenders both regionally and internationally to condemn threats against the right to freedom of expression. 

“The intimidatory practices and death threats to which journalists are currently exposed must stop,” Reporters Without Borders said in its condemnation of the attacks. “Freedom of expression and media freedom are essential conditions for change in a country that is trying to rebuild after years of authoritarian rule and a year of repression.”

Sources: Reporters Without Borders, Women Journalists Without Chains, The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information


Farah Wael's picture

Farah Wael


2012-02-09 19:17

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