Monday, February 28, 2011

Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Stormed

New York, February 28, 2011- The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the ongoing attempts of governments in the Middle East to censor news coverage of protests. In Yemen, men stormed the Journalists' Syndicate on Saturday.

On Saturday at around 11 a.m., three men in plainclothes arrived in a marked police vehicle and stormed the offices of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate in Sana'a. The men called the journalists present "traitors" and threatened that they "will teach them a lesson," Marwan Damaj, the head of the syndicate, told CPJ via phone. The syndicate filed a complaint with the Interior Ministry. The interior minister told Damaj that the government had nothing to do with the attack, he said. Damaj added that "there is anger from security forces and an attempt to prevent the press from covering the anti-government demonstrations."

"Journalists covering the political turmoil and street protests in Yemen are already working under great risk to their safety so these threats are particularly worrying," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The government must launch an immediate and credible investigation into this assault on the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate and bring those responsible to justice."

Masdar Online, a popular Yemeni news website, has been blocked locally since Saturday, according to local journalists. It is the fifth time the website has been blocked since Masdar Online as launched in 2009, the site said. The editorial management said in a statement that the blockade was due to the website's wide coverage of recent anti-government protests.

Source: CPJ

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