The American Center for Justice (ACJ) expresses its strong condemnation of the announcement by the Supreme Judicial Council in Yemen, which is affiliated with the legitimate government, to establish the Press and E- Publishing and Publications Prosecution despite the lack of a legislation on electronic publishing, in a strange precedent that aimed at restricting freedom of opinion and expression, as well as silencing the electronic press, news sites and the popular press represented by the social media pioneers.
Establishing a prosecution to look into “electronic publishing crimes” in the absence of a special act in this regard would make the fate of media professionals and social media activists hang on the prosecutors and judges who are currently appointed by the executive authority. Furthermore, armed groups and security and military services would interfere in their appointment in some areas.
(ACJ) sees in this announcement a serious first step towards suppressing and restricting freedom of the press and media, in addition to allowing arbitrary measures to be taken against journalists, writers, photographers and all workers in this field and preventing them from practicing their profession.
The American Center for Justice warns that the popular press, or what is known as citizen journalism, and what is published on social media have become heavy, immediate, and deterrent oversight to protect against human rights violations, outlaw practices and corruption. This kind of press also contributes to mitigating these violations in light of the absence and decline of the role of the judicial, security and official oversight bodies, which makes any repression, censorship and restriction of this type of press enough to allow human rights violators, outlaws and corrupt to perpetrate their crimes under the protection of measures to suppress the press and electronic publishing.
The Center calls for the reversal of this decision. Instead, (ACJ) calls upon the Supreme Judicial Council to provide protection mechanisms for journalists and media professionals through the institution and organs of the judiciary and to stand seriously and responsibly in the face of the grave violations that practitioners of the media profession have been subjected to since the outbreak of the ongoing war in the country.