By Ali Aweida
A total of 27 journalists have been killed since the outbreak of Yemen’s civil war in 2014, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, an NGO, said Saturday.
“The press freedom [in Yemen] is going through very difficult conditions and has been subject to a systematic war since 2014," the syndicate said in a statement marking the Yemeni Press Day, which falls on June 9.
According to the statement, a total of 27 journalists “have lost their lives for the sake of fulfilling the right of the society to obtain information”.
The syndicate said media outlets in Yemen have been looted, journalists and photographers chased and hundreds of news portals blocked.
It called for the release of 12 journalists held by Houthi rebels and another journalist taken hostage by al-Qaeda militants.
“They are living in poor conditions and are subject to brutal torture,” the statement said, going on to call for piling pressure on warring rivals in Yemen to “create an appropriate and safe environment for journalists and respect the right to obtain information”.
Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab its allies -- who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies -- launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
The violence has devastated the country’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.