Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

World Report - Yemen

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 1 September 2011
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Yemen, 1 September 2011, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
  • Area: 527,970 sq. km.
  • Population: 24,133,000
  • Language: Arabic
  • Head of State: President Ali Abdallah Saleh (titular); Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi (acting head of state since 4 June 2011)

Since the protest movement began in Yemen in February 2011, the government of President Ali Abdallah Saleh has stepped up its control over the media to impose a blackout on the movement itself and on the ensuing crackdown against it by the security forces and their henchmen. The government has done its utmost to prevent the publication of images of the violence perpetrated by the security forces. A series of harsh measures has been used, not only against Yemeni media workers news but also against foreign journalists covering the clashes.

Until February 2011, the media was largely controlled by a government that tolerated little criticism. The current press law dates from 1990. A draft reform, under discussion for several years, has been strongly criticised by media workers as restrictive. It aims to ban any investigation deemed to undermine Yemen's national security, national unity or foreign relations. It would provide for penalties up to six years' imprisonment for anyone found to have violated press law.

In 2009, the authorities increased their stranglehold on the media to ensure its silence on military offensives in the north and south of the country. In May that year, the information ministry, invoking national security, banned the publication of eight independent newspapers accused of promoting separatism.

In response to the popular uprising calling for a democratic government, President Saleh toughened the measures already in place. The year 2011 has been a particularly dangerous one for journalists and the media, which were subjected to abuses of all kinds – murder, kidnapping, threats, ransacking of premises, seizure of copies, withdrawal of accreditation.

At a time when the international community is losing interest in Yemen, abuses directed against journalists and the civilian population go on unpunished.

Updated 1 September 2011

Search Refworld