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Press Freedom in Yemen

Date of publication: 2 May, 2018

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In Yemen, independent and objective journalism has turned into a life-threatening occupation.

Since the Houthi-led coup in 2014, the few media outlets who have not been persecuted or targeted by the Houthi rebels and their allies have been forced to close. A lack of funding for journalism and extremely dangerous working conditions for reporters have all made it nearly impossible to get verifiable information out.

For those journalists who stayed behind, a life threatened with sudden disappearances, torture and arbitrary death sentences is a regular experience.

The press is one of the first victims of war
- Adel, Yemen

The New Arab's correspondent, Adel Al-Ahmadi, describes Yemen as one of the worst places in the world to work as a journalist.

Over the last year alone, 300 violations were committed against journalists, media workers and media houses,  according to a recent report by the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS). 

Journalists are constantly exposed to threats, attacks, and abduction when they are not the victims of the Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes.

The World Press Freedom Index ranked Yemen at 167 out of 180 countries in the 2018 list, dropping down one from last year.

But as events continue to escalate in Yemen, especially since the death of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, killed at the hands of the Houthis, and with his nephew now looking to form an alliance with the Arab coalition in "revenge" tactics, the war in the country is only but intensifying and this means an even more dangerous situation for journalists and media workers. 

Such an unsafe environment has forced several private media outlets to shut down or relocate their offices. In the main cities either in Yemen's south or north, no independent media establishment can work without any fear from or pressure by the dominating authorities or militias. But many journalists still vow to continue their work despite the formidable challenges on their way.


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