We are writing to you to express our concern regarding a recent report made for Vice News by correspondent Isobel Yeung, published to YouTube on the 28th of April 2021. The report details the alleged usage of child soldiers by the “Houthi group” in relation to the ongoing conflict that has ravaged Yemen for the past six years. And while that may be commendable, the report rings hollow considering Vice Media Group’s increased partnership and cooperation with the Saudi regime in recent years, casting intense doubt on Vice Media Group’s claims of unbiased reporting.
We would like the following points clarified:
- Why did Vice News engage in a tight and orchestrated propaganda cooperation deal with Mohammad Bin Salman and the Saudi regime? In 2019, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Vice Executive Chairman Shane Smith had discussed collaboration in private with Crown Prince Bin Salman (Jones et al., 2019). Wouldn’t Vice Media Group agree that a collaboration with one of the world’s most dystopian regimes in the world constitutes a grave and serious breach of any claimed “bipartisan” reporting?
- How did Ms. Yeung’s team get access to Hadi-regime controlled territory, when the team behind recent CNN report from March of 2021 detailing the crippling Saudi-imposed blockade on Yemen were refused entry, and had to smuggle themselves into Yemen by boat across the Red Sea (Platt et al., 2021)? Wouldn’t Vice Media Group agree that this further sheds doubt on the credibility of its reporting, and wouldn’t Vice Media Group agree that this at least suggests, in some form or another, that the Saudi regime to an extent favors the reporting made by Vice News, considering what was stated in point one of this letter.
- Looking up Vice News’ YouTube archive with the words “Saudi blockade” renders zero results pertaining to the conflict against Yemen, while keywords such as “Houthi” renders multiple results. Could Vice Media Group explain why this may be, and why Vice News has not extensively covered the Saudi-imposed blockade on Yemen, which was condemned by Human Rights Watch in 2017 , urging the UN Security Council to “sanction Saudi and other coalition leaders responsible for blocking food, fuel, and medicine, causing hunger, sickness, and death” (HRW, 2017).
In short, Vice News’ credibility is heavily at stake as long as its reporting continues to reflect, intentionally or not, Saudi foreign policy in Yemen, and as long as Vice Media Group does not address these issues to the public. The war in Yemen was fundamentally started by the Saudi regime and its coalition, and all issues in Yemen are biproducts of Saudi Arabia’s malign war of aggression backed by US support.
The Executive Committee of the
Yemen Solidarity Council