Anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Young people in Yemen are increasingly vocal in their calls for more democracy and respect for human rights. They’re facing many problems in their strife-torn country: violence, repression, rampant corruption, 73% youth unemployment, the world’s highest inequality between men and women. Freedom of speech, the press and religion are all restricted.


  • Population: 25.6m
  • Official language: Arabic
  • Freedom of the Press score: not free (score 79)


  • President Saleh ceded power in 2011, after months of protest, Abdradduh Manseh Hadi won presidential elections in 2012
  • Weak government institutions, tribal leaders are the informal powers
  • Separatist movement in the South


  • Yemen is the poorest country in the region, very weak economy, youth unemployment rates are very high, high illiteracy rates
  • Al Qaida controls part of the country, including some big cities
  • Ethnic and religious tensions


  • Repressive media laws forbid publication of any material that undermines public morality, control over print and broadcast media is strong, although officially  censorship doesn’t occur
  • State media are dominant, but private media are permitted, systematic violence against (critical) journalists
  • Poor infrastructure, around 16% of the population has access to internet, about 2 % of the population uses social media (Facebook), mobile penetration is 40%