The Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS) has released its annual report on press freedoms in Yemen for 2017, documenting the ongoing series of violations against the press and journalists in the country.
Since the beginning of 2017, the YJS has documented 300 violations against journalists, dozens of newspapers, websites, media headquarters and equipment of journalists.
The Houthi group committed 204 violations, an average of 68% of the total violations. The legitimate government bodies committed 54 violations, an average 18%.
Unknown perpetrators committed 28 violations, an average of 9%. The Arab Coalition in Yemen committed 8 violations, an average of 3%. The Southern Movement committed three violations, an average of 1%, and Ansar Al-Sharia, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, committed two cases, an average of 1%.
103 violations of kidnappings and arrests were documented, an average of 34% of the total cases. 37 cases of blocking the websites and social media sites occurred, an average of 12%.
Attacks mounted to 34 cases, an average of 11%. Threats and incitement reached 31cases, an average of 10%. 29 attempted murders, an average of 10%, were documented.
17 cases of confiscating and seizing the equipment of the journalists and the media outlets, an average of 17% were documented.
The YJS also documented 11 cases when journalists stood a trial, an average of 4% besides 11 cases of torture in detention centers, an average of 4%.
8 cases of stopping salaries and suspending from work were documented.
Denying journalists from covering mounted to 8 cases, an average of 3%.
5 violations of suspending the media outlets, an average of 2%, and 3 murders, an average of 1% were reported.
3 cases of issuing repressive regulations and instructions, an average of 1%, occurred.
The 103 cases of abduction, detention, chasing and harassment were distributed as follows: 68 cases of abduction, 18 cases of detention, 10 cases of arrest, 7 cases of chasing that targeted dozens of journalists.
The Houthi group committed 81 cases of abduction and chasing, an average of 79% of the total number of kidnappings. The government committed 18 cases of arrest and detention, an average of 17%.
The unidentified perpetrators committed three cases just like Ansar al-Shariah, an average of 1% each.
14 journalists are still kidnapped. 13 of them have been in the Houthi custody for more than two years, including journalist Wahid Al-Sufi hidden who was forcefully disappeared on 6 April, 6, 2015.
Journalist Mohammed Al-Muqri has been in Al-Qaeda custody in Hadramout since October 12, 2015.
The YJS documented 37 cases of blocking and hacking Yemeni and Arab websites in addition to blocking social networking sites and slowing the speed of the Internet by 12%.
36 cases of the blocking were committed by the Houthi group, an average of 94%. Two cases of blocking were committed by unknown persons, an average of 6%.
The YJS documented 34 cases of attacks on journalists, media personnel, media headquarters and properties, let alone the equipment of journalists.
The attacks were as follows: 17 attacks on journalists, an average of 50%, 7 cases of attacking the media headquarters using heavy and medium weapons, 8 cases of attacks on property belonging to journalists and two cases of attacking peaceful rallies.
The Houthis committed 13 cases of attack, an average of 38.2%. Unknown perpetrators committed 10 cases, an average of 29.4%. The government committed 7 cases, an average of 20.6%. The Arab Coalition committed two cases of attack, an average of 5.9% and the Southern Movement committed two cases, an average of 5.9%.
The YJS documented 29 cases of attempted murder of journalists and photojournalists. 24 of the cases, an average of 83%, targeted journalists and media personnel working for media outlets. Some of the attempted murders resulted in disabilities.
Two cases of targeting the media outlets by shelling and medium weapons were documented in addition to the documentation of 3 attacks on the guards of the media institutions.
The Houthis committed 14 cases of attempted murder. 6 cases were committed by the Arab Coalition, and the government committed 6 cases. Three cases were committed by unknown persons.
The YJS documented three killings of journalists and photojournalists in Taiz by Houthi armed men.
The YJS also documented 11 cases of torture and ill-treatment of journalists in detention camps, of which the Houthis committed 8 cases and the legitimate government 3 cases.
In addition, the YJS documented 17 cases of confiscation of the properties of both the journalists and the media outlets. 9 cases of confiscation of properties, an average of 53%, targeted the media outlets. 8 cases of confiscation of properties targeted journalists' property and property, an average of 47%. The Houthi committed 9 confiscation-related cases. The government committed six cases. Unknown persons committed one case and the Southern Movement committed also one case.
Journalists were exposed to harassment and standing trial in 2017. The YJS documented 11 cases of taking 39 journalists to court. 6 cases were trial; 4 cases were interrogations and summons.
Unfair verdicts were issued against two journalists. The first, Abduraqib Aljubaihi was sentenced to death. But he was sentenced to an amnesty and released on September 24, 2017. The second journalist, Mohammed Anam, the editor-in-chief of Al-Mithaq newspaper, was sentenced to nine months in prison and a fine of 2.5 YR million.
The cases of denying journalists from covering were 8. 5 of which prevented journalists and photographers from covering some events, and two cases of preventing journalists from being visited by their families. One another case was denying a journalist from entering the university exams because a publication case. The Houthis committed 7 cases, and the government committed one case.
The cases of suspending journalists from work and the suspension of salaries mounted to 8 cases, including five cases of salary suspension that affected hundreds of journalists. The cases of suspending journalists from work were three, affecting dozens of journalists. The Houthis committed 5 cases, while the government committed 3 cases.
The YJS documented five cases of stopping media outlets and television programs, four of which were media outlets suspension and one was television program suspension. The Houthis committed all these cases.
The violations were not confined to attacks, murder, confiscation, blocking, threats, torture and abduction. However, they mounted to the level that the Houthi-controlled ministry of information issued regulations to control the print, audio, visual and electronic media.
These regulations lack legal and constitutional justification, and they contain repressive articles against the media and journalists. In addition, the ministry has made a notice that printing newspapers or publications should not happen without its permit.