Friday, May 9, 2014

U.S. Journalists Hadi's First Clampdown on Western Media

Adam Baron at the immigration cell before his deport,
by his friend, Yemeni journalist, Farea Al Musilmi.
Yemeni authorities deported one of the sharpest and diligent foreign journalists in Yemen, Adam Baron, last night. With no thorough explanation the authorities only told Baron that 'he was no longer welcomed in Yemen.' Baron who extensively reported on Yemen since Yemen's 2011 uprising has gained a large admiration by Yemenis not only for his rigorous and in-depth reporting on Yemen's complex politics but also for his amazingly complete immersion into the Yemeni culture.

Baron, who firstly arrived to Yemen before the uprising with a goal to learn Arabic, once told me in our few correspondence when I asked him, 'why Yemen? why didn't you choose Egypt or Jordan, for instance, to live in to learn Arabic and so on..? His answer left me in an awe for several days. "I don't think I've ever enjoyed living anywhere as much as I enjoy living here,' respinded Baron, 'it's incredible to wake up in old sanaa everyday--when I tell people I think it's the most beautiful city on earth, I'm not lying."

Now, it would be not an exaggeration to say that Yemeni authorities' deportation of Baron has the same impact of physically torturing Baron.

The current suggested analysis of why the authorities have done that was proposed by the Yemen Post newspaper: "Yemeni officials told Yemen Post that Baron was seen very often roaming Sanaa for reasons not related to work and authorities were worried he could have been a kidnap victim."

In addition to Baron, journalist Tik Root was forced not to enter Yemen yesterday. He tweeted:

The last time foreign journalists were deported from Yemen was in 2011, during the last days of Saleh's era. The Guardian wrote back then, 'Yemen has begun a clampdown on western media, arresting and deporting four foreign journalists who had been covering government attacks on protesters..."

And this marks the first clampdown on western media for president Hadi's regime.