27 journalists have been killed since the outbreak of Yemen’s civil war in 2014

17 December 2018

Press freedom in Yemen is going through very difficult times and has been subject to a systematic war since 2014. According to the statement of the NGO Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, a total of 27 journalists “have lost their lives for the sake of fulfilling the right of society to obtain information”. The environment for journalists in Yemen is so dangerous that there is no safe place in the country for them to work in.
“They are living in poor conditions and are subject to brutal torture,” the statement said, going on to call for putting pressure on warring rivals in Yemen to “create an appropriate and safe environment for journalists and respect the right to obtain information”.

According to the report, which was published by the Yemen-based Studies & Economic Media Center (SEMC), "Yemeni journalists face the biggest wave of displacement in modern Yemeni history. Killings, kidnappings and various forms of abuse have forced journalists to search for less unsafe areas. While many journalists took the radical decision of giving up their profession altogether and keeping away for fear of prosecution and detention, Yemen saw large-scale forced displacement of journalists abroad. This sad, indeed tragic reality constitutes a severe blow to the profession in Yemen. In such a harsh environment, Yemeni journalists are restricted to arrest, death or plunging into the unknown."

The report further states that “the parties to the conflict in Yemen see no value in and show no respect for unbiased journalism. The legitimate government, the Houthi group, al-Qaeda militants and the southern separatists have been sharing a common enmity for the media that does not befit their ideologies and intentions.”
Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The United Nations Security Council in its resolution 2216, is “deploring any attempt by the Houthis to take actions that are exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Government of Yemen, and noting that such actions are unacceptable, expressing alarm that such actions taken by the Houthis undermine the political transition process in Yemen, and jeopardize the security, stability, sovereignty and unity of Yemen, and reaffirming its support for the legitimacy of the President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and reiterating its call to all parties and Member States to refrain from taking any actions that undermine the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and the legitimacy of the President of Yemen.

However, since 2015, the violence has devastated the country’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”, making it even more difficult for journalists to exercise their profession.

Ekaterina Pinchevskaya