On World Press Freedom Day

On World Press Freedom Day:

Media Freedoms Observatory Calls for Immediate Release of Detained Journalists

On World Press Freedom Day, every 3rd of May, we congratulate Yemeni male and female journalists in the world on this occasion and express our high appreciation to journalists and the media who are still striving for the truth and carrying out their professional duties professionally despite the challenges they face due to the conflict that has been going on in Yemen since the end of the year 2014 .

We have seen happy pictures that accompanied the welcome of the four journalists as they left the prison of the Houthi group – after eight years of detention, enforced disappearance, torture and death sentences – as part of a prisoner swap deal. We hope that this picture will be repeated with other journalists who are still in detention.

Unfortunately , despite the truce between the conflicting parties in Yemen for more than a year, the war against the independent media and journalists continues with ferocity, as we have witnessed cases of killings, trials, arrests, torture, and restrictions on media freedom in the various Yemeni governorates.

 On this occasion, we would like to remind the world that the media freedom and freedom of opinion and expression in Yemen are going through their worst conditions in light of the continuous escalation of of violations, which exceeded 2461 violations, including the killing of 52 journalists and media activists, 479 cases of arrest, and 154 violations committed against media institutions.

Most of these violations were committed by the Houthi group, which made it difficult for journalistic work, and many journalists in Yemen were no longer able to report the facts away from influence, polarization, and fear of crackdown, which led to the spread of rumors and fake news, further fueling the conflict and deepening the state of societal division.

The impunity of criminals in Yemen and the failure to be held accountable has increased the intensity of targeting journalists without fear. The means of that targeting have evolved through planting explosives, direct killing, sniping, and targeting the families of journalists with the aim of terrorizing and intimidating them from continuing their journalistic work, which requires intensified efforts at the national and international levels to establish legal accountability, and to punish the perpetrators of these violations as crimes that do not fall under the statute of limitations, and the perpetrators will not go unpunished.

On this occasion, we recall the UN envoy to Yemen and all international organizations and countries sponsoring peace in Yemen to step up their efforts by putting pressure on all conflicting parties in Yemen to quickly release the rest of the ten journalists who are still in prison, eight of whom are in the prisons of the Houthi group, who are Waheed Al-Sufi, Mohammed al-Salahi, Mohammed al-Junaid, Mohammed al-Hutami, Abd al-Rahman Khalid, Nabil Sultan, Nabil al-Sadawi, Walid al-Matari, the journalist Ahmed Maher in the prisons of the security authorities in Aden , and the journalist Mohammed al-Maqri in the prisons of al-Qaeda.

Issued by the Media Freedoms Observatory in Yemen

 May 3, 2023