Troubled by targeted attacks on media workers in Yemen

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
CJFE condemns the targeted killing of a journalist and media workers by Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen on April 20. Journalist and TV presenter Mohammed Shamsan and three other staff members of Sana’a-based television station Yemen Today were killed in an airstrike that appears to have deliberately targeted the broadcaster’s office. This attack was one of many that have been launched by a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia in a military campaign against Houthi rebels loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who assumed control over much of the country earlier this year. Media reports indicate that the TV station was deliberately targeted as a result of its affiliation with former President Saleh. The airstrike also came shortly after an alleged phone call to the station from the coalition forces warning them that it was now being considered a legitimate military target, due to coverage seen as favourable to the Houthi rebels. As civilians in armed-conflict zones, journalists and media workers are subject to protections under international humanitarian law, regardless of their viewpoint and political affiliation. The work of media professionals is essential to serving the public interest and keeping the international and local community informed about the current conflict. Fair, accurate reporting does not represent a direct act of hostility and as such it is illegal to deliberately attack media outlets and press workers. CJFE echoes the calls of other likeminded international organizations, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute, and the International Federation of Journalists, for the Saudi-led coalition to immediately cease targeting media outlets and journalists. CJFE also calls on the coalition forces to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law to uphold the protection of journalists and other media professionals, and to hold accountable those who perpetrated the attack on Yemen Today.
This letter of concern was sent to His Excellency Naif Bin Bandir Alsudairy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Canada. Cc: Mr. Tom MacDonald, Ambassador of Canada to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs

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