--> Yemen is the fourth deadliest country for journalists after Iraq, Afghanistan and Mexico.

--> Youth largely excluded from peace talks and not provided with opportunities to voice their opinions or contribute to peace-building process.

--> Since escalation of violence, UNESCO DG condemned the killing of 21 Yemeni journalists (as of October 2017). 12 journalists remain kidnapped by militia groups.


Since 2015, UNESCO has been able to reach the following achievements in the field of Communication and Information in Yemen:

  • More than 800 people in Yemen engaged in UNESCO’s activities in the field of Communication and Information inside the country;
  • Around 200 journalists and journalism students trained on various fields including occupational and digital safety, conflict sensitive journalism, ethics and multimedia journalism as part of UNESCO’s efforts to support the Yemeni media sector;
  • Ongoing partnership with 20 international and local press freedom and media development NGOs and UN agencies to implement activities, coordinate support and monitor the situation for journalists in Yemen;
  • Advocacy campaign on safety of journalists and role of media in humanitarian crisis in Yemen reaching out to more than 3,000 people and 15 media outlets in Yemen;

EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH MEDIA

- Cooperated with Radio Netherlands Worldwide Media (RNW Media) to celebrate World Press Freedom Day in Sana’a. The event was attended by 300 youth and consisted of youth debates by journalism students on freedom of expression online and hate speech. The debate was preceded by a three-day training for 25 journalism students and young journalists on the art of debating, conflict-sensitive journalism and professional standards.

- Under the “BTelephony” initiative UNESCO trained 20 journalists in Sana’a in July 2016 on reporting with mobile phones to produce multimedia reports showcasing positive stories from Yemen and amplifying the voices of marginalized groups in the country, including youth, women and people with disabilities.

- Trained 40 youth in Yemen on developing mobile apps for peace-building and to respond to the humanitarian crisis, in cooperation with Internet Society. More than 10 mobile apps were developed and have been promoted in the country to support communities in crisis and encourage messages of peace.

- Celebration of International Day for Universal Access to Information held in Sana’a in cooperation with RNW Media with the participation of 300 youth entitled “IPDCTalks: Yemeni Youth powering the SDGs and peace with public access to information”, with the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The event consisted of youth debates on three SDGs including SDG 4 on education, SDG 8 on employment and SDG 16 on peace and justice and featured inspirational speeches from high-profile speakers. The debate was preceded by a four-day training for 20 Yemeni youth on the art of debating and the SDGs.

CREATING THE BASIS FOR PEACE THROUGH MEDIA

- In February 2016, UNESCO organized an experts meeting and consultation with 60 Yemeni journalists from different political affiliations and cities including Sana’a, Taiz, Aden, Mukalla and Hodeida and 20 international and local NGOs in February 2016 which resulted in recommendations formulating basis of an Action Plan to Support Yemeni Journalists in Promoting Peace and Dialogue and roadmap for future programmes supporting the media sector in Yemen;

- Following the consultation meeting, UNESCO launched a coordination mechanism comprising around 15 international and local partners to monitor and support the media in Yemen and implement the action plan. The coordination mechanism enabled the development of key synergies between local and international partners which led to launch of new projects and further assistance to media practitioners;

- Under the “BTelephony” initiative, launched by La Saqf Media with the support of International Media Support and UNESCO, UNESCO trained 20 journalists in Sana’a in July 2016 on reporting with mobile phones to encourage reporters to use ICTs in a safe and innovative way to produce and share news while showcasing positive stories from Yemen and amplifying the voices of marginalized groups in the country, including youth, women and people with disabilities. More than 10 video reports were produced by the participants and featured on local and regional news websites.

- In October 2014, UNESCO invited three Yemeni photo-reporters to take part in a regional five-day training on “photojournalism and conflict sensitive reporting in the age of new media” which focused on enhancing the skills of mid-career photojournalists working in conflict zones on conflict sensitive reporting, computer skills in editing photos, ethics, and the role of new media.

IMPROVING ACCESS TO HUMANITARIAN INFORMATION

- UNESCO and BBC Media Action organized a training for 35 Yemeni journalists and five UN humanitarian agencies on reporting on the humanitarian situation, developing lifeline programming to inform communities in crisis and enhancing coordination between journalists, humanitarian workers and UN agencies;

- As a follow up to the training, UNESCO in cooperation with UN agencies in Yemen supported coordination meetings between humanitarian agencies and journalists in Yemen to encouraged information sharing efforts;

- Supported efforts to raise awareness on the humanitarian situation in Yemen through communication campaigns including on World Humanitarian Day 2017 through the #NotATarget campaign featuring the testimonies of Yemeni journalists;

- UNESCO is a member of the Humanitarian Communications Group, which involves UN agencies, international NGOs and local CSOs involved in humanitarian work in Yemen. As part of the group, UNESCO supported efforts to raise awareness on the humanitarian situation in Yemen through communication campaigns and to facilitate travel of foreign journalists to cover the situation;


ENSURING THE SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS, CITIZEN JOURNALISTS AND BLOGGERS

- In May 2016, UNESCO invited the directors of three leading press freedom and media development groups in Yemen to receive a five-day hostile environment training for war correspondents by Al Jazeera at the media network’s headquarters, with the objective of raising awareness, building capacities and sharing knowledge with media practitioners in the country;

- From May to June 2016, UNESCO trained more than 50 journalists and local NGOs on the importance of occupational and digital safety for journalists including safety planning, risk assessments and safety measures through a series of hostile environment training and digital safety workshops Sana’a and Taiz, in cooperation with the Rory Peck Trust. UNESCO-Reporters Without Borders Safety Guide for journalists in high-risk environments was distributed to all participants;

- Based on these trainings, UNESCO cooperated with Internet Society and produced in August 2016 a list of recommendations and guidelines for Yemeni journalists to protect their digital safety based on the local context and the needs of journalists;

- Throughout 2016, UNESCO worked closely with UN OCHA and local partners in Yemen to disseminate UNESCO-Reporters Without Borders Safety Guide for journalists in high-risk environments with UN agencies, NGOs and Yemeni media outlets;

- In November 2016, UNESCO launched an advocacy campaign together with 10 international press freedom and media development organizations and with the support of the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. The video campaign entitled “End Impunity for Violence against Journalists in Yemen” features testimonies of Yemeni journalists and calls for protection of journalists as an essential component of the peace-building process. 

- In June 2016 and February 2017, UNESCO sent a letter to Yemen National Commission to UNESCO and its Permanent Delegation regarding the DG’s report on the Safety of Journalists and the Dangers of Impunity requesting information on the judicial follow-up to cases of journalists killed in Yemen since 2011.

MONITORING MEDIA LANDSCAPE AND VIOLATIONS

- Since the escalation of violence, UNESCO has been closely monitoring the situation on the ground with the support of international and local press freedom groups. The monitoring process has enabled UNESCO to condemn the killings of Yemeni journalists in a timely manner and to remind all parties of their legal duty to recognize the civilian status of media workers and ensure their safety, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. 

- In December 2015, UNESCO in cooperation with the Studies and Economic Media Center produced two surveys to better define the needs of beneficiaries in Yemen. It included a survey on the priority needs of Yemeni journalists and a poll on audience information needs to identify the most effective media platforms and skills to develop.

- Since 2015, UNESCO has conducted a series of mapping of Yemeni media institutions inside and outside Yemen to provide clear data on active media organizations, bloggers, social media influencers and press freedom groups that are still operating and those that emerged after the escalation of violence in order to identify potential new partners and understand media trends;

- In December 2014, UNESCO strengthened the skills of Yemeni journalists and media academics on media regulatory frameworks and integrating international standards and good practices into media policies as part of a training on the Media Development Indicators’ methodology developed by UNESCO.

UN PARTNERSHIP

UNESCO Doha Communication and Information Sector's work is based on and integrated within the UN Strategic Framework for Yemen and also actively involved in four UN working groups including:

- UN Country Strategic Framework - Peace and Security Working Group

- The Humanitarian Communications Group (UN agencies, international and local CSOs)

- The UN Yemen Communications Group

- The Emergency Employment and Community Rehabilitation 

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