Al-Thawry [Archives:2004/795/Press Review]

December 2 2004

25 Nov, 2004
Main headlines
– Despite the elapse of almost a year, Public properties prosecution tarries in investigating into corruption of al-Hudeida University
– Weakness of legislation and influential groups behind spread of the acts of taxation evasiveness
– UNESCO denies deletion of Sana'a from the list of historical cities

Columnist Abdulbari Tahir writes that press freedoms in Yemen are facing the dilemma of repeated wars and the aggravating corruption. Following the unity in 1990 licenses for publication of newspapers were granted to about 150 or more newspapers and magazines of which 50 weekly newspapers had been published. As soon as the war of 1994 ended, many of those newspapers disappeared.
In fact many of them had been created by the circumstances of conflict and competition between the YSP and the GPC, the two poles of the unity state. Although the war ended with the victory of the unity, it had affected in various forms the margin of the democratic liberties, particularly the freedom of opinion and expression.
There were many attempts to amend the law of press no. 25 for 1990, the last of which was the draft law presented by the journalists syndicate that was rejected by the journalists and the government had consequently withdrawn it. The ministry of Human Rights has done well in studying the law and defining the articles conflicting with the constitution.
Since the war of 1994, the press prosecution and the ministry of information started in monitoring the press and maltreating journalists accompanied by severe sentences against them. No party organ newspaper or private independent one was spared from this policy.
The queerest is that most of the opposition newspapers were facing several law suits at more than one courting a way the newspaper and its staff could not be able to follow up those cases. Many journalists were exposed to attacks by beating, kidnapping and closure of newspapers and imprisonment.
Some random judgments were issued against journalists preventing them from writing for life and arbitrary detentions were repeatedly carried out in violation of h3e constitution and the law. Journalists disappeared inside prisons of the political security for weeks and more than one punishment was inflicted on them for one violation.
The war of 1994 left dangerous results on the press freedoms the impact of which are still there.
The catastrophe is repeated with the Houthi insurgency that has deepened the wound of the press freedoms.
This war has contributed to more hard-line measures in facing the narrow margin of freedoms. Lately, journalist al-Khaiwani, editor in chief of Al-Shoura newspaper was prosecuted even during the holiday of judiciary and he was sentenced to one year imprisonment and suspending the newspaper for six months.
The sentence was implemented immediately after its issuance in despotic and police manner.a