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IFJ raises concerns about fate of 30 journalists held in Yemen

5 December 2017

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today raised its deepest concerns about the safety and lives of at least 30 journalists and media workers of the TV channel Yemen Today.

The staff are being held inside the Television building in the capital Sana'a, following the Houthis militias’ raid on the station on 3 December 2017.

During the attack, at least three building guards were injured, according to the management of the TV.

A correspondent for the Russian channel Sputnik TV, together with a number of security guards and other media employees are also held at Yemen Today, according to reports.

The rebels seized the TV channel after the broadcast of former Yemeni president Saleh last Saturday, when he called on his followers and Yemeni people to revolt against the Houthis. Saleh was killed yesterday by Houthi militias while trying to escape the capital Sana’a.

The IFJ has called on the Houthis to respect journalists’ independence and to release all journalists and media staff currently being held at the Yemen Today TV.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"We are sadly witnessing a constant and unbearable harassment of journalists in Yemen, one of the most dangerous countries in the world. No journalist should be abused for doing their job and holding them as hostages is unacceptable. We thus call on all warring parties to respect press freedom in the country and stop using journalists as pawns in a wider geopolitical fight and urge the Houthis to release our colleagues as a matter of urgency." 

The IFJ is also calling on the Houthis to release 14 other journalists they are holding in their prisons, some of them have been detained for over two years.

Yemen is among the seven countries focused on for the IFJ End Impunity campaign as local journalists face harassment and attacks on a daily basis.

According to IFJ figures, at least 28 journalists have killed in Yemen since 2007, three of whom since the start of this year.

The Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate, has registered 25 cases of attacks on journalists, 21 cases of attempted murder and 50 kidnappings and arrests during the first nine months of this year. Most of the abductions and arrests were committed by the Houthis.

Tags: , yemen, yemeni journalists syndicate, journalist safety, journalists detained, impunity, end impuity, solidarity, ifj