Government failing to protect press freedom

Attacks on Yemeni journalists doubled in 2011

GMT 13:44 2012 Thursday ,20 September

Arab Today, arab today Attacks on Yemeni journalists doubled in 2011

Yemeni Journalists Syndicate
Sanaa – Ali Rabea

Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Sanaa – Ali Rabea More than half the 600 attacks on journalists in Yemen over the last three years took place in 2011, Arabstoday can exclusively reveal. In 2011 the number of attacks shot up to 330 following the violent protests against the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to a report by the Yemeni Journalist’s Syndicate. Arabstoday obtained exclusive access to the report officially released on Saturday.
According to the Freedom report, last year was the bleakest year for journalists who experienced more bloodshed and violence than the preceding two years.  In monitoring the 150 attacks on journalists and media workers in 2009 and 130 in 2010, the syndicate noted not only were people physically attacked but their property was also damaged including their houses, cars, and media facilities.
In addition the report criticises the government for refusing to approve new legislation to protect press freedom, delaying the approval of better salaries for Yemeni journalists and meddling in the hiring of staff.
Official and state-owned media is ineffective and unable to cope with increasing financial, administrative, and technical problems and government censorship, which affects the public trust, it adds.
Along with assaults on the media, websites have been blocked and newspapers banned and confiscated. Privately owned newspapers are failing to plug the gap because they lack institutional organisation and rarely have journalistic independence, the reports adds. In Yemen the majority of non-state media is owned by political parties, movements and powerful figures that control output in exchange for financial support and protection.
A documentary film about press freedom titled “Assassinating the word: from the punch to the gunshot” will accompany the report, which was issued in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists with support from European organisations.

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