Download the full report - Human Rights Watch

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Download the full report - Human Rights Watch

IV. Attacks on Journalists Since February 2012

Since President Hadi took office in February 2012, security for journalists has continued to

deteriorate, despite and in some respects because of the overall improvement in freedom

of expression. There has been no significant relaxation of state pressure on journalists and

they have become exposed to attack from new quarters, including Huthi supporters and

religious extremists, not just the government and its security forces.

In 2011, during the height of the uprising that eventually brought President Saleh’s

removal from office, the Yemen Journalists’ Syndicate recorded a total of 333 attacks and

other hostile actions against journalists and the media. 71 In February 2013, the Freedom

Foundation reported that it had documented 260 separate incidents in 2012 involving acts

against journalists and the media ranging from threats and harassment to enforced

disappearance and attempted murder. 72 In the first half of 2013, the Freedom Foundation

recorded 144 attacks and other hostile acts against journalists, newspapers and other

media outlets, directly affecting 205 individuals. 73

The response of the authorities to these abuses has been completely inadequate. Few

cases against journalists have been seriously investigated let alone fully prosecuted.

Khaled al-Hammadi summed up the views of many Yemeni journalists when he told Human

Rights Watch in February 2013:

It was not good in Saleh’s time. There were limitations against journalists

and TV channels. No one at that time could publish anything about Saleh,

the regime, or the Saleh family. There were many strong people who were

close to the Saleh family.… Under Saleh, journalists were worried about

attacks from the intelligence authority, the Information Ministry and the

71 Human Rights Watch interview with Ashraf al-Rifi, journalist and member of the Freedom Committee at the Yemen

Journalists Syndicate, Sanaa, February 5, 2013

72 Freedom Foundation, “Media Freedom in Yemen: 2012,” February 23, 2013, http://freedomfoundationyemen.org/en/images/stories/Books/freedomfoundation_%20book_en.pdf

(accessed July 30, 2013).

73 Freedom Foundation, “Biannual report: Cases and Victims of Violations against Media Freedom in Yemen 2013,” July 1,

2013, http://www.freedomfoundation-yemen.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=525:199-cases-ofmedia-violations-reported-during-the-first-half-of-2013-and-14-violators-standing-behind&catid=12:news&Itemid=30

(accessed July 1, 2013).

"A LIFE-THREATENING CAREER" 24

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