A Yemeni artist sprays graffiti on a wall in Sanaa criticizing the freedom of press in Yemen on September 19, 2016. Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP

Yemen progresses in World Press Freedom Index


Sat, 04-05-2024 06:11 PM, Aden

Aden (South24) 

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index for 2024 showed progress for Yemen as the war-torn nation climbed to 154th globally, up from 168th last year.

Yemen ranked 14th in the Arab nation category, compared to 19th in 2023, ahead of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Syria, Egypt, and Bahrain.

Yemeni journalists suggest this progress reflects the positive reality of press freedom in South Yemen, especially in the capital, Aden, the headquarters of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the internationally recognized government.

In a statement commemorating World Press Freedom Day, on May 3, the STC-affiliated National Southern Media Authority said: “We renew our commitment to promoting and protecting freedom of the press and freedom of expression in our country and throughout the world.”

The Southern Journalists Syndicate, established in January 2023, affirmed its adherence to freedoms and the right of expression on World Press Freedom Day.

"The Southern Journalists Syndicate salutes journalists and media professionals who defend freedom of speech and the noble message in South, in Yemen, and other countries of the world," the statement said.

Despite the progress made, Yemen is still one of the lowest ranked globally, and violations continue to be committed by all parties - particularly the Iran-backed Houthis, who top the list of violators.

“Since 2014, the military conflict in Yemen continues to tear the country apart, leaving very serious consequences for press freedom,” the RSF report states.

"Polarization dominates the Yemeni media scene, which remains divided between the various parties to the conflict, and it has no choice but to agree with the ruling authority, depending on the area of control in which it is located, or face sanctions," the report added.

The report indicated that journalists in Yemen "face the risk of kidnapping, whether at the hands of the Houthis, AQAP, or the official government. They are also exposed to various types of violations at the hands of militias."

The report said: "While the Saba News Agency is groaning under the weight of the official government, Al-Masdar News remains close to the Islah Party, while Al-Masirah TV remains the main Houthi platform."

According to the report, “access to electronic media remains prohibited since the Houthis took control of the Ministry of Communications.”

On March 11, the Houthis imposed a currently ongoing block of the official website of the South24 Center for News and Studies from the Yemeni public. In a statement made at the time, the center said: “This is a painful blow to press freedom and independent journalism.”

Related: Yemen's Houthis block South24 Center website 

On March 31, the South24 Center, in conjunction with the Southern Journalists Syndicate, hosted a discussion session in Aden on ‘Freedom of the Press in South’. The session discussed the reality of freedoms and ways to enhance them.

Related: South24 Center organizes discussion on «Press Freedom in South» 

South24 Center

YemenWorld Press FreedomPress FreedomReportes Without BordersRSFSTCHouthisPLCJournalismSouthern Journalists Syndicate