At least 208 human rights abuses, including nine cases of death, against journalists and media workers in Yemen were committed during the year of 2016, stated Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).
In its annual report issued recently on the reality of press freedoms, WJWC has pointed out that 2016 was the worst-ever year by all standards for Yemeni press over decades.
The report lists a variety of violations including murder, abduction, assault, torture, death threat, unfair dismissal and dismissal from public office. They are as follows: 51(24.52%) threat cases, 35 (16.83%) abductions, 27 (12.98%) attempted murders, 15 ( 7.21%) arbitrary dismissals, 12 (5.77%) physical tortures, 12 (5.77%) cases of electronic hacking, 10 (4.81%) cases of breaking into media institutions, 9 (4.33%) cases of detention, 9 (4.33%) cases of murder, 8 (3.85%) injuries, 8 (3.85%) attacks, 5 (2.4%) arrests.
Moreover, 4 (1.92%) cases were arbitrarily stopped from working, 4 (1.92%) cases were subjected to chasing and surrounding, 3 (1.44%) cases of violent incitement against journalists were registered, two journalists (0.96%) were prosecuted and two media institutions were burnt.
According to the report, the militias of Houthis and ousted president Saleh topped the list of violators at a rate of 151 (72.6%) cases of violation, while unidentified gunmen were at the second place with a rate of 23 (11.06%) cases. The forces of Yemen’s legitimate government came in third at a rate of 19 (9.13%), followed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition at the fourth place (2.4%), factions of the southern movement at the fifth place (2.4%), terrorist organizations at the sixth place (1.44%) and finally the group of Abu Abbas at a rate of two cases (0.96%).
In the wave of domination over the political and administrative decision in the capital of Sana’a and other cities, as explained in the report, the Iran-backed Houthi group in collaboration with Ali Saleh resorted to silencing the opposing voices due to their extremely important role.
The report stressed the need to commit to, and abide by international humanitarian law and respect for freedom of opinion and expression by all parties to conflict, highlighting the necessity to change the hostile speech towards journalists.
The organization, as added with emphasis in the report, adopted standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality, objectivity and transparency when writing the report, asserting to cover as much as possible all violations committed against journalists without any exception, as “the organization’s main work focuses on defense of freedom of opinion and expression in Yemen regardless of all non-professional considerations.”
WJWC, as expressed in the report, deals with journalists and media workers being subjected to violations as they belong to the profession of journalism, noting that it is committed to defending the rights of all journalists and media workers and registering any abuses or violations against them by all parties- out of upholding freedom of opinion and expression.
Meanwhile, 18 journalists and media workers are still held captive by the Houthi militia and have been subjected to physical torture, experiencing rapidly deteriorating health conditions as emphasized by their families. In this regard, the report reiterated the need to release them immediately, blaming the militias for safety of their lives.
The report called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into all violations against journalists and media workers, with the emphasis that violators should be held accountable for their crimes, and that there is no statute of limitations on such violations whose perpetrators must not go unpunished.