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Conflict devastates the space for expression

Journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders (HRDs) were killed across the region in 2018, including in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.[1]

In September, the Saudi-led coalition led an airstrike against Yemen that hit Al-Maraweah Radio Broadcasting Centre, killing three.[2] Reuters reported that the Centre was an intentional target.[3]

Both sides of Yemen’s conflict perpetrated attacks on journalists in 2018, leaving no safe space for reporters or respect for journalistic neutrality.[4]

Increasing political conflict and violence have undermined the freedoms opening up in Libya since 2011. Journalists are routinely targeted and neutrality disregarded. At least 18 journalists have been killed since the revolution, around 70 have left the country, and 8 media outlets have moved their operations to nearby countries.[5]

Meanwhile, in Syria, an estimated 55 journalists have died since the revolution – in only seven years.[6] Militia groups vying for power, as well as Syria’s military intelligence agencies, regularly harass media workers.[7] Turkish snipers injured two reporters in northern Syria in November.[8]



[1] Front Line Defenders, Global Analysis 2018, 7 January 2019, available at

[2] Committee to Protect Journalists, Saudi Airstrike Hits Yemeni Radio Station, 17 September 2018, available at

[3] Aziz El Yaakoubi, ‘Saudi-led air strike kills four at Yemen radio station, U.N. intensifies diplomacy’, Reuters, 16 September 2018, available at

[4] Committee to Protect Journalists, Yemen Journalist Arrested by Government Military Forces, 26 February 2018, available at

[5] Reporters without Borders, Seven Years After its Revolution, Libya is Losing its Journalists, 16 February 2018, available at

[6] Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms of Syrian Journalists Association, ‘Syrian organisation documents death of 55 media professionals in Eastern Ghouta in past 7 years’, IFEX, 21 March 2018, available at

[7] Committee to Protect Journalists, Syrian Military Intelligence Arrests Syrian Kurdish Journalist at Checkpoint, 5 September 2018, available at

[8] Committee to Protect Journalists, Two Journalists Shot, Injured Covering Effects of Turkish Shelling in Syria, 5 November 2018, available at