Based on a workshop convened in May 2016 by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Regional Office Gulf States, this special collection brings together journalists and academics from Yemen, the Middle East and North Africa region, and the West, to discuss various perspectives on the Yemeni conflict, the problematic media landscape in and on Yemen, and media standards that are hindering coverage or distorting reporting on the country’s on-going conflict.
Since the failure of Yemen’s UN-sponsored transition process and the Houthis’ rise to power in the autumn of 2014, violence in Yemen has rapidly increased. That violence reached a new level in March 2015, when Saudi-led airstrikes on the country began. Since then, most of Yemen has been engulfed in a protracted, armed conflict.
This war is being fought not only on the battlefield, but also through the media. News outlets have played a decisive and, often times, destructive role in the conflict, becoming weapons in the struggle for political power.
After the Houthis seized power in Sanaa, they took control over state media, using it to strengthen and legitimize their position. Temporarily based in Riyadh, the exiled Yemeni government, under President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi, created parallel state media outlets, with the help of Saudi Arabia, to delegitimize the Houthis, as well as (re)strengthen its position in the conflict. With few independent media organizations in the country, local Yemeni journalists have aligned themselves with one of these two narrative discourses. Most regional and international journalists have also followed either the Houthi or Hadi government line on the conflict.
Published in conjunction with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, this collection of articles – which makes up part one of a two-part collection (the second half will publish on July 25) – looks at these various themes.
We look forward to continuing the conversation and exploring the media’s role in Yemen’s on-going conflict.