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Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Yemen

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1998
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Yemen, February 1998, available at: [accessed 20 October 2017]
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.

In comparison to its neighbors on the Arabian peninsula, the Yemeni press has enjoyed a considerable degree of press freedom. The 1990 unification of north and south Yemen ushered in democratic reforms that sparked a proliferation of private newspapers. In the years following the country's 1994 civil war, however, the state has reversed some of this progress.

The state's exploitation of the press law and penal code to prosecute journalists who write critically of the government or public officials threatens the independent press. One particularly shocking case in 1997 was the libel conviction of Abdul Jabbar Saad and Abdullah Saad from the weekly Al-Shoura, who were sentenced to 80 lashes and banned for a year from practicing journalism for "defaming" a leading politician of the opposition Islah party. Officials also displayed their displeasure with independent reporting by suspending newspapers that were outspoken in their criticism of the state.

Political Security agents kept up their harassment of the press, intimidating and detaining reporters, or confiscating issues of newspapers.

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