By NY staff
Al-Ayyam Arabic newspaper has resumed publication after a five year absence. The suspension was due to an attack on its Aden headquarters in 2009, linked to its interest in the al-Hirak movement for Southern independence. Al-Ayyam released a sports issue on Saturday, and today the editorial team will release a politics edition.
The reopening comes after Bashraheel, the owners of al-Ayyam, discussed the paper with President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi. They agreed to close criminal proceedings and accept compensation of $3 million, a figure decided by governmental ministers. It was part of a twenty point decision by a technical committee of the National Dialogue Conference.
Al-Ayam chose World Press Freedom Day to reopen the paper. According to the Secretary of Rights and Freedoms in the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Ashraf al-Rifee, there are 250 violations against its 1, 500 members every year, most of which are not punished by authorities.
Over the last three years, many tribal heads and sheikhs have begun investing in media, though they have done so by opening newspapers and satellite televisions instead of opening media institutions for journalists to work safely.
Freedom House recently classified Yemen as “not free” for journalism, and ranked it 167 out of 197 countries for press freedom. Freedom House cited 202 violations during 2013, compared with 432 during 2012.
It said that although there was a decline, the violations became far more serious, such as with murders, and thirteen kidnapping cases. It should also be noted that 2012 has had a “chilling” effect on Yemeni journalists, who responded to violence with self-censorship that eliminates the need for violations in the first place.