Jason Stern, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said that there were seven journalists abducted in Yemen last year (including one foreigner), and that it’s common for journalists to be detained for questioning or hauled into defamation proceedings. “There are so many people vying for power in Yemen, trying to assert control, and journalists never quite know whose red line they are crossing,” said Stern. “That includes the government at times, but also non-state actors.”

Without denying the role of Yemeni journalists, Stern said, there is a place for coverage by outsiders. “There are [foreign] journalists who have proven that they are trustworthy, and they’ve gained respect with the local community, and they serve as an essential international link,” Stern added. “International journalists who work in Yemen are essential for broadening the image and understanding of Yemen abroad.”

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Cora Currier is a freelance journalist focusing on national security. Previously, she was a reporting fellow at ProPublica and on the editorial staff of The New Yorker