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Journalists in Yemen threatened, kidnapped, and beaten

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has repeated its call for Yemeni authorities to step up media protection in the country after a spate of brutal attacks against media staff in recent days.

According to IFJ affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), unidentified gunmen attacked the delivery bus of the Akhbar Al Youm newspaper in the city of Aden at 6am on Wednesday, 5 February. The gunmen forced the newspaper distributor and the bus driver to leave the bus and then drove away in it.

The YJS has also reported that journalist Fatek Al Radini, who works for the Saba news agency, was attacked and beaten by four people driving two cars while returning to his home yesterday, Thursday 6 February. They are reported to have stolen all of his belongings.

The YJS has demanded that Yemeni security authorities carry out immediate investigations into the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice, while also calling for the delivery bus and Al Radini's belongings to be returned.

"We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Yemen to demand that the relevant authorities do everything in their power to increase protection for the safety and freedom of the country's journalists and media personnel," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

"These blatant and brutal acts of violence are clear attempts to intimidate the country's media and undermine press freedom and they cannot be tolerated. Regardless of political opinion, the right to freedom of expression and media safety must be upheld."

The IFJ has responded to the YJS call for a national conference in Yemen on media safety. The IFJ President will be participating in a meeting later this month in Yemen's capital city Sanaa, which will bring together media editors, management and government officials from across the country. The meeting aims to reach agreement on a joint approach to the safety crisis facing journalists in the country and to adopt practical steps that will reduce the attacks.

As well as the conference, the YJS media safety office will organise three days of safety training for Yemeni journalists. The training will be conducted by IFJ safety trainers.

The IFJ response follows a string of violent attacks that have blighted the country over the last few months, with reports of journalists being threatened, kidnapped and beaten.

Read the full list of attacks against media professionals since the beginning of October 2013.

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