Media freedom has seen a spate of violations, deemed the most horrendous since the commencement of the political crisis in Yemen in September, 2014, with the Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC) monitoring 61 such abuses in August alone.
The fourth periodical report by SEMC revealed that the media has been experiencing a dire situation marked by high risks since the Huthis overran Sana'a and expanded their control over much of the country.
The report indicated that some 61 breaches were committed against journalists and social media activists in August. These included killings, injuries, arrests, intimidation, raids of homes and offices, website blackouts, and newspaper closures.
It highlighted that abductions accounted for the bulk of the infringements, numbering 32 or (52%), while other abuses included 17 cases of intimidation (27%), five raids of outfits and houses (8%), one killing and an injury, it noted.
It explained that the Houthi group and pro-Saleh elements committed 85% of the violations, gunmen perpetrated 13% of the abuses, with the legitimate government responsible for 1%.
Other violations included newspaper shutdowns as with the dailies Al-Aula and Al-Share'a, which were shuttered due to an incitement campaign by Houthi leaders, the reported stated, maintaining that the government replaced the army-run 26th September website with a new one carrying the same name plate.
Yemeni readers were denied access to the UAE-based Al-Bayan website, the report further noted.
It made it clear that 52% of the contraventions occurred in the capital secretariat, 19% in Dhamar province, and 9% each in Aden and Taiz.
Press freedom has experienced the harshest crackdowns in two and a half decades, as media violations kept rising, with journalists facing high risks that likely involve death, it remarked.
The report pointed out that SEMC had voiced grave concern over the dire situation experienced by Yemeni media persons and social media activists, as well as the Houthis' attempts to quell dissent in the provinces under their control, including by publishing journalists' names as a preliminary step to arresting them.
Some 11 journalists , who were kidnapped by the Houthis, remained unaccounted for, it affirmed. It further highlighted that nine such journalists include Abdul Khaleq Amran, Tawfeeq Al-Mansuri, Hareth Hamid, Hisham Tarmum, Hisham Al-Yousufi, Akram Al-Walidi, Esam Bulqeeth, Hassan Anab, and Haitham Al-Shihab, in addition to three forced disappearances involving Waheed Al-Sufi, and Mahmoud Al-Hamidi.
To SEMC's surprise, seven newspapers in Aden,Lahaj,Abyan and Dhalea, taken back from the Houthis, are still off newsstands, the report added, urging the government and the ministry of information to instantly compensate such papers, whose equipment were either pillaged or destroyed by the Houthis, in order to enable them to resume their operations.
SEMC is considered as a high-profile NGO specializing in training in economic and media fields, and working towards the enhancement of transparency, good governance, and public engagement in decision-making, the creation of professional and free media, and the economic empowerment of youth and women.