Political Analysis

Yemen Journalism in 2014: Weapons Fighting Pens


By NY Staff

2014 is considered a bleak year for the Yemeni press. Many journalists faced various kinds of harassment and repression from gunmen. This attack against journalists increased after the Houthis controlled Sana’a and other provinces in the second half of the current year.

In a statement, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said that 2014 was the biggest year of violence and attacks against journalists, where there is now a war between the Houthis and various media. According to rights and union sources, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate and media are working to record all the violations suffered by journalists in a report for the coming year.

The Secretary of the Rights and Freedoms at the Press Syndicate, Ashraf al-Rifee, said that the first statistic of the violations against journalists since the beginning of 2014 until the middle of last November included 120 cases against journalists and their institutions and homes.

“The most prominent violations are 14 assaults against journalists and their institutions, houses, cars and relatives. 15 accidents were implemented by gunmen and 9 accidents by unknown offenders,” added al-Rifee. Al-Rifee said that the Journalists Syndicate said the Houthis were responsible for all attacks because they control the security situation in the areas where the violations occurred.

According to Journalists Syndicate, The most prominent violation was against the official Yemeni channel by artillery fire. Houthis also attacked the governmental channels Saba and Al-Eman, the private channel Suhail, and Ibb Radio, by seizing their contents. The violations by government forces decreased with the Houthis’ emergence, where there were only ten assaults during 2014.

The Houthis didn’t attack journalists and Yemeni channels only, but also they launched campaigns to close Arab satellite offices in Yemen, saying that they don’t present the assaults done by al-Qaeda against the Houthis. According to rights activist Majid Almdhajy, the incitement that manifested in the speech of Abdulmalik al-Huothi, the leader of the Houthis, against some media indicates to a plan followed by Houthis. “The incitement reveals a very bad period dominated by repression and quantization where Houthis will consider themselves guardians of truth, morality and religion,” Almdhajy said.

Recently, Houthis took over Al-Thawra newspaper and issued its daily number by a new staff belonging to them, though the Ministry of Information called on the staff to stop working until it ends the illegal situation. The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate confirmed that the dominant staff of Al-Thawra newspaper continues issuing the newspaper, ignoring the legitimate authority of the newspaper’s editorial board. The Houthis justify their presence in Al-Thawra newspaper by fighting the corruption by the former Chairman of the Board. However, a source in Al-Thawra newspaper said that a Houthi manager from outside the newspaper was imposed to manage the financial and editorial affairs of the institution.

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