Recent reports of attacks on journalists in Yemen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

His Excellency Khaled Mahfoodh Abdulla Bahah, Ambassador to Canada
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
54 Chamberlain Ave
Ottawa, ON K1S 1V9

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is deeply concerned about recent reports of harassment of Yemeni journalists. On Monday, September 5, Abdul al-Hafeez al-Hatami of Al-Sahwa Net and Raafat al-Amiri of Suhail TV were attacked by a group of armed men in the Al-Duha district of Hobeidah. On August 28, Abdallah Ghoraib and Zein al-Saqaaf from the BBC were assaulted by armed men in Sana’a and their camera was destroyed.

Such attacks are not the only threats facing Yemeni journalists. Ahmed Firas of Suhail TV remains in government custody after his arrest on August 12, despite no formal charges having been brought against him. Moreover, in recent months, there have been numerous reports of newspapers being confiscated or burned at border crossings and security checkpoints.

These cases highlight the troubling conditions for the free press in Yemen. The dangerous and hostile environment for journalists threatens to severely limit the effectiveness of the free press and independent media, the proper functioning of which are vital components of any democratic society.

As such, CJFE urges the Yemeni government to ensure greater protections for journalists, allow for the distribution of all newspapers and publications, and immediately release any members of the media who have been detained without cause or fair trial.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber
CJFE President

Cc: Mr. David Chatterson, Ambassador of Canada to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman
The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs