Annual report Violations Against Freedoms of Opinion and Expression 2023

Over the last nine years, the Media Freedoms Observatory in Yemen, affiliated with the Studies and Economic Media Center, has meticulously documented thousands of instances of violations against journalists, media activists, and institutions, along with their staff. This tally has surged past a staggering 2515 violations, encompassing 54 tragic instances of journalist fatalities, including two female journalists. Regrettably, accountability and retribution have remained elusive in every single case, as the perpetrators continue to evade justice.

These transgressions have significantly narrowed the scope of media freedoms, a stark revelation evident in the monitoring outcomes. The once vibrant landscape of media diversity and freedoms that characterized Yemen before the current conflict has eroded. In regions under the sway of the “Ansar Allah” Houthi group, the print press has virtually vanished, save for a handful of newspapers affiliated with or orbiting around it. Media freedoms have been stifled, compelling media professionals to confront daunting choices: align with group-affiliated outlets, relocate from their native areas, or forsake their media vocations altogether. Similarly, regions under the jurisdiction of the internationally recognized government lack the presence of an independent press showcasing diverse opinions and orientations, with only scant exceptions. The predominant media narrative is one of war mobilization, leaving media professionals with the stark ultimatum of either embracing it or facing unemployment, societal ostracism, and potential persecution if they choose to pursue an independent course.

Numerous journalists in Yemen find themselves impeded from freely navigating and disseminating facts, ensnared by the specters of influence, polarization, and the looming fear of oppression. The conflict has also given rise to news channels, newspapers, and websites bankrolled by various parties, both internal and external to Yemen. This influx of partisan funding has spawned a proliferation of rumors and misleading news, further intensifying the conflict and exacerbating societal divisions.

Upon scrutinizing and assessing the state of media freedoms in Yemen, a disconcerting reality becomes glaringly apparent: all parties involved in the conflict, through their actions, converge on a shared goal of suppressing the press and curtailing the free practice of journalism. This concerted effort has direly impacted the economic standing of many journalists, compelling some to abandon their journalistic pursuits and seek employment outside their chosen profession. In light of these challenges, we fervently urge journalists to swiftly unite, setting aside political affiliations and disengaging from the divisive factions embroiled in the conflict, in order to collectively defend their rights.Top of Form


Yemeni female journalists, despite their limited numbers, found themselves vulnerable to systematic targeting through a range of ruthless methods. These included brutal killings, arrests, and both verbal and physical assaults. Additionally, they faced the perils of blackmail, bullying, and the tarnishing of their honor and reputation across diverse electronic and media platforms. This multifaceted aggression has placed many female journalists in an arduous psychological and humanitarian predicament. As a consequence, the ability of these journalists to practice their profession freely has been significantly impeded. This has resulted in numerous female journalists either halting their work or choosing to remain silent. Regrettably, the persistence of these transgressions and abuses against female journalists persists unabated, with the perpetrators exhibiting a blatant disregard for the potential consequences of their actions.

In this annual report for 2023, we endeavor to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the media landscape in Yemen. Our objective is to assess the current state of media freedom and meticulously document the violations perpetrated against journalists and media workers. Through this endeavor, we aspire to play a role in putting an end to cases of impunity.

It is imperative that the international community does not remain passive in the face of ongoing violations against journalists. There is a pressing need to escalate efforts both locally and internationally to alleviate the plight of journalists and to confront those responsible for these violations. It is crucial that wrongdoers do not evade justice, and a resolute message must be conveyed to perpetrators across all parties involved. They must understand that they will be held accountable for their actions, as these crimes, along with other severe violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, are subject to no statute of limitations.

Undoubtedly, the influence of the international community is pivotal and can contribute to the recurrence of positive scenes, such as the heartening images witnessed during the release of several journalists as part of a prisoner exchange deal under the auspices of the United Nations.

As we present this annual report, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to our esteemed partners at the Dutch Embassy in Yemen and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Their unwavering support for Yemeni journalists and collaborative efforts in championing press freedoms in Yemen have been invaluable.

I cannot overstate my gratitude to the dedicated team at the Media Freedoms Observatory in Yemen, as well as all our partners in Yemeni provinces, journalists, and social media activists both within and beyond Yemen.

Click here to view the report