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Mounting dangers for journalists in Yemen

A second journalist has been killed in the space of a week as a result of the Saudi-led coalition’s air-strikes and an Al Jazeera reporter has been abducted together with his crew.

Journalists stand inside a sports hall destroyed by Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 19, 2016
Journalists stand inside a sports hall destroyed by Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 19, 2016

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

UPDATE: The kidnapped Al Jazeera journalist and his two crew members have been freed. (IFJ - 28 January 2016)

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 25 January 2016.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the growing dangers for media personnel in Yemen, where a second journalist has been killed in the space of a week as a result of the Saudi-led coalition's air-strikes and an Al Jazeera reporter has been abducted together with his crew.

Hashem Mohamed Homrane, a reporter for the pro-Houthi TV station Al Masira, died on 22 January from the injuries he received in an air strike the day before in Dhahiane, a town in northern province of Saada. He was only 17.

Local news media said he was injured while preparing a report on the damage caused by early airstrikes in the town. His death came just five days after a freelance reporter was killed in similar circumstances in the southern outskirts of the capital, Sanaa.

“The situation for journalists is becoming extremely worrying in an increasingly hostile environment for freedom of information,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk.

“We remind all parties to the conflict that they are responsible for the safety of journalists and that crimes of violence against them must not go unpunished. RSF also calls for the release of all journalists and media workers held by armed groups.”

Al Jazeera said it lost contact with its correspondent in Taiz, Hamdi Al Bokari, on 18 January while he was covering the fighting between rebel and pro-government forces. The TV channel said it feared that Bokari was kidnapped along with Abdelaziz al-Sabri, a reporter for the newspaper Al Masdar, and their driver, Mounir al-Soubaie.

Security conditions in Yemen deteriorated dramatically in 2015 as a result of the fighting between government forces (backed by the Saudi-led coalition) and the Houthi rebels, who are allied with the supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh.

According to RSF's tally, 17 journalists and media workers are currently held hostage by armed groups – either Houthi rebels or Al-Qaeda members.

Yemen is ranked 168th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Three Al Jazeera media staff abducted in Yemen

    “We demand the immediate release of the Al Jazeera crew. A handful of journalists are risking their lives on a daily basis to tell the world what is happening in Yemen. We are very concerned that our colleagues may have been the target of malicious attempts to silence the press once again in the country. We relentlessly call on warrying parties in Yemen to do their utmost to protect media professional’s safety on the ground.”

  • Al Jazeera crew reported kidnapped in Yemen

    “The security situation for journalists in Yemen is extremely serious and we are greatly concerned by reports of the kidnapping of three members of Al Jazeera’s reporting team there,” IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “We urge their immediate release and call on all parties in the current Yemeni conflict to respect the role of the media to deliver information to the national and international public.”



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