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DCMF condemns government campaign against journalist in Yemen

 DCMF has condemned the personal campaign launched by the Yemeni government against president of the Freedom Foundation, Khaled Al-Hammadi.

Thu, 10/01/2013

Khaled al-hammadi photo


Khaled Al-Hammadi, who said that the government's actions indicate a worrying future for press freedom in Yemen

 Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) has joined Freedom Foundation (FF) for Media Freedom, Rights and Development in Yemen in condemning an ongoing campaign launched by the Ministry of Defence against the foundation’s president, Khaled Al-Hammadi.

Last week Al-Hammadi, a correspondent for London-based Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, had an article published which dealt with the issue of political appointees and concerns over the new President Abd Al-Rab Mansur Al-Hadi’s transfer of power to members of his family.

Following the publication, Al-Hammadi was summoned for questioning, and offered to print any new information he was provided, which he then did in a second article.

However, the government’s Ministry of Defense then published an article featuring a strong personal attack against Al-Hammadi, arguing that the journalist was opposed to the state’s development and the interests of the Yemeni people.

FF released a statement in which they said that the campaign of “fierce incitement” has placed Al-Hammadi’s life in danger, making him a target for people who may have a grudge against the reporter.

DCMF spoke to Al-Hammadi about the case, with the journalist explaining that he feels endangered by the campaign of hatred which has been launched against him.

“This seems like a green light to anyone wanting to get revenge against me,” he said, adding “now whenever I am walking on the street or driving my car I feel that anyone could attack me.”

“The statement looks like a call to arms,” he noted.

Al-Hammadi said that this sort of personal attack is something which has not been witnessed in Yemen under the current regime, and argued that it does not bode well for the future of media freedom.

“This is the first time the current regime has done this – during the Saleh regime journalists were often targeted, but people were hopeful that things would change now,” he said.

“Things have changed in Yemen, based on a desire for democracy, human rights and media freedom,” he noted, adding “but this attack has shocked us and shocked all journalists in Yemen, and made us think that things are actually getting worse.”

DCMF condemns campaign

DCMF strongly condemns the ongoing smear campaign aimed at defaming and harassing Khaled Al-Hammadi.

The centre is appalled that the Yemeni authorities are attempting to discredit an award-winning professional journalist in this unprecedented manner.

DCMF is also concerned about the long term wellbeing of Al-Hammadi following the repeated incitement to hatred which he has faced following his article’s recent publication.

Freedom of information and media freedom are essential tenets of any democracy and it is imperative that the Yemeni authorities take the necessary precautions to ensure that these freedoms are guaranteed and protected as the country moves into a new era of history.

DCMF stands in solidarity with Al-Hammadi, and reiterates its commitment to media freedom and quality journalism throughout the Arab region and the rest of the world.

To read this report from its original source


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