SHAFAQNA – Media Blackout in Yemen: Preventing the entry of foreign journalists to Yemen violates international conventions
The Journalists Support Committee in Yemen, with deep regret, continues to pursue the media blackout imposed by the coalition governments upon Yemen. The coalition has prevented foreign journalists from entering Yemeni grounds, therefore, preventing media coverage of the dire and dangerous conditions in Yemen.
The committee notes that the Yemeni authorities -who are led by the internationally recognized president- and the Saudis have consistently restricted journalists from entering Yemen, with excuses that do not match with human rights laws and other international treaties, charters, and conventions or with the preamble of article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Committee draws attention to the coalition preventing cargo planes carrying aid and belonging to the United Nations from reaching Yemen in September because the plane had journalists on board.
Ahmad Ibn Al-Aswad, the spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen said: “The coalition reckons that it is not possible to assure the safety of the journalists in areas controlled by the rebels” he then advised them to board commercial flights instead.
Ibn Al-Aswad also added: “It is unfortunate and to a good extent explains why Yemen, which faces one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world, has not received sufficient international media coverage”.
The ministry of journalism in the Yemeni government issued a statement, calling on journalists to not visit Sana’a and other areas that do not fall under its control, claiming that it will grant the authorities in Sana’a legitimacy and in respect to this, the Journalists Support Committee views that this procedure is not acknowledged by any international convention, instead it significantly strengthens the media blackout.
Consequently, the Journalists Support Committee calls upon the coalition directed by the Saudis and the Yemeni authorities to not prevent journalists, media professionals and the correspondents of international news agencies, who want to provide on the ground media coverage, from entering Yemen.
We also call on the International Journalists Rights Organizations to take necessary measures in putting an end to and condemning these violations on the rights of journalists and freedom of the press. We call for the removal of the restrictions stopping freedom of movement and travel, which breaches article 12 in the international covenant on civil and political rights.
We therefore appeal to the United Nations Civil Liberties Committee to carry out the necessary pressures on the coalition and the Yemeni authorities to oblige them in applying the international covenants, especially those attached to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right of media coverage in addition to the public’s right of access to accurate information.
Journalists Support Committee – Yemen
16 October 2017