Although Yemeni journalists and media members enjoyed greater freedom in 2013, escalating violence is still a major problem in the country. The Freedom Association documented 282 violations in 2013, down from 432 in 2012, but with 12 attempted murders and 13 kidnappings. Foreign journalists were also affected negatively, and also continue to be expelled from the country.
Minister of Information Ali al-Emrani said at a Freedom Association event for press freedom, hosted in conjunction with UNESCO, that “the current media in Yemen is not the model that we wish to be. We now have political and media pluralism, but when there are some excesses from the politicians, you journalist must stop us by using pens.”
He stressed that freedom of the press and media is important, but at the same time, journalists and media have to use this freedom correctly and not to use it to drive chaos or an obstacle to the construction process, especially since the country is in a very serious transitional stage.
George Abu al-Zulof of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized that media freedom is a prerequisite for good governance and that journalists are necessary to create a suitable environment for democracy and the rule of law. Al-Zulof stressed that journalists should remember their role, and that institutions should protect journalists from an environment of hatred and sectarian violence.
Freedom Foundation Chairman Khaled al-Hammadi said that Yemen needs to create a strong platform for protecting violated journalists.
“A free media enhances the rules and principles of good governance and strengthens the rule of law, which in turn ensures the journalists’ safety and guarantees the appropriate climate to fight impunity. Investment in raising the press’ professionalism and media development is an essential part of sustainable development.”