UPDATE: Wikileaks just released the Yemen files. Who would have guessed that, the US funded yemeni forces to force the war (once again).

There are many terrible things happening in Yemen, they are being bombed by the Saudi-led coalition. You can see many examples in the Yemen Post Twitter feed. Very many of these, I don't see reported in most mainstream media.

Here is an article on the only decent newspaper out there talking about Yemen.

Why is this?

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    It appears major newspapers do mention this: nytimes.com/aponline/2016/01/22/world/middleeast/… voting to close question as it seems based on a premise based mostly on opinion.
    – user1530
    Jan 25, 2016 at 18:36
  • @Blip when I say most, I mean most, it's been 10 months of war and they haven't mentioned it till yesterday. The saddest thing is it says dozens have died while in fact it's been thousands.
    – Suriya
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:28
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    UK media covers it and German media does too. Closing because the question is based on a faulty premise.
    – Philipp
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:32
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    @Pablo What do you want us to do? List every goddamn article ever written about that topic? The media is reporting about it as much as it should, and when you fail to notice, you are either not looking or consuming the wrong media. You are seeing a conspiracy which doesn't exist, and you are wasting our time with it.
    – Philipp
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:46
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    Shoutout to @user568458 for the decent edit, I just made a couple changes to improve the English. Jan 27, 2016 at 13:03

3 Answers 3


You're not alone in thinking that the war in the Yemen is under-reported. Medium ranked it as the top underreported stort of 2015 and even the normally reserved BBC described it thus:

...the war in Yemen must rank as one of the most under-reported in recent times, despite a few brave visits by intrepid journalists and film crews

It's always difficult to give a perfect answer to questions like this but we do have some factual sources to go on:

  • Several journalists and institutes have done research into why the war in Yemen is under-reported and written about this. This includes identifying some specific facts.
  • Other journalists have written first-hand accounts of limitations in modern reporting, identifying principles and trends, some of which apply to Yemen

Yemen-specific issues

Since May 2009 we observed a very bad evolution, with a lot of trials, with a lot of journalists in prison, a lot of journalists harassed and it is really the worst evolution of media freedom in the world

  • It's extremely difficult for foriegn journalists to get in. As Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) put it in their excellent article Why almost no one’s covering the war in Yemen, which I've quoted from many times and which I recommend reading in full:

...journalists say the current conflagration has made reporting on the country more difficult than at any other time in memory. There are vanishingly few foreign journalists in Yemen as a result of the violence on the ground, access restrictions, and wavering commitment on the part of international news organizations

(we'll come back to the "wavering commitment" part)

At the moment, journalists have no reliable way into Yemen. The Saudi-dominated coalition has bombed the airport in Sanaa, leaving some journalists seeking other routes into the country. Some have attempted to broker passage on ships bringing aid to the country.

For example:

A crew from BBC television managed to enter the southern city of Aden briefly in April, but left soon thereafter, apparently due to security concerns. Other news organizations are covering the conflict from neighboring Saudi Arabia, or from Djibouti, Cairo, or Beirut.

  • It's hard for those few journalists who are there to get news out. CJR again:

Yemeni journalists, meanwhile, face power outages for days at a time [and] the threat of food shortages

As former Yemen correspondent Adam Baron was quoted in the CJR article:

“It’s the simple fact that it’s literally almost impossible to get information in or out of that country because of the apocalyptic damage and strain to Yemen’s infrastructure.”

General problems in modern journalism that apply to Yemen

But the problem isn't just the difficulty - there's also a lack of will, or as CJR put it:

wavering commitment on the part of international news organizations

Even when journalists have risked everything to get stories out, or when citizens have used social media to tell the world what's happening, many media outlets do almost nothing with these reports.

Why is this? In 2008 experienced journalist Nick Davies published a book describing in detail the ways and reasons why modern newsrooms fail to properly report important stories, Flat Earth News, and some of the principles discussed are relevant to Yemen.

  • Journalists like "safe" sources. If a journalist publishes a witness account of a Yemeni villager, and it turns out to be a fraud organised by the propaganda division of one of the factions, that journalist feels their reputation is at risk. If a journalist publishes a statement by a Western government which turns out to be equally untrue, they get two stories for the price of one - the original statement, then the subsequent controversy about the misleading statement. So, journalists prefer "official" stories, since they feel their backs are covered, This is a problem for a conflict like Yemen where the actual fighting is done by factions in broad coalitions whose leaders simply don't comment on most incidents, and where finding impartial sources is difficult (CJR again):

the problem of finding sources in a polarized country where violence has hardened attitudes

  • Modern journalists have little time to do original research or fact-checking, due largely to reduced budgets. This combined with the previous point leads to favouring "he said she said" stories, where they can simply copy a quote from a should-be-reliable source, publish it, and if other should-be-reliable sources dispute it, they quote them in a "controversy over X" piece. In Yemen, Western governments tend to not make statements since it's diplomatically awkward (Saudi Arabia is an ally). Human rights organisations do comment on events in the Yemen, but they are usually met with no response, so this isn't a good way to generate a cheap "he said she said" copy-and-paste controversy.
  • It's complicated. Modern journalists are pressed for time due to understaffing due to reduced budgets, and favour easy pre-packaged stories that are easy to churn out (a trend dubbed "churnalism" by BBC reporter Waseem Zakir, popularised by Davies' book) over stories where they'll need to take time to properly understand and communicate something complex like the many agendas and loyalties of the many members of the two main military coalitions in the Yemen.
  • There's no clear easy narrative. Publishers feel stories need a "hook", and for foreign wars this usually means turning it into a "good guys vs bad guys" story where the "good guys" are in some way "like us" or "on our side". For example, the war in Syria was a major story while it could be characterised as the "good" pro-democracy activists and Free Syrian Army vs the "bad" dictator Assad. It then slipped in prominence as many of the anti-Assad forces proved to be even worse than Assad's regime, then roared back into prominence when it could be characterised as the "bad" ISIS vs the "good" Peshmerga and Yarzidi. Neither of the two main military factions in Yemen is easy to characterise as the "good guys", so many news outlets simply don't know how to give the story a hook - and don't try.

Of course, there is a "good guys" faction who should be represented. As Yemeni-Scottish filmmaker Sara Ishaq was quoted in the CJR article:

“We’re trying to represent this third party that isn’t really being represented, and it’s mainly the civilians who are neither pro-Houthi/Saleh nor pro-Saudi.”

...but as previously discussed, modern churnalists don't see ordinary civilians as the kind of source where, if it turns out to be incorrect, the churnalist can cover their backs by turning it into a "he said she said" copy-and-paste controversy. So, they go unrepresented.

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    Thank you for taking the time to write such good answer to such a badly phrased question.
    – Philipp
    Jan 27, 2016 at 14:31

It's complicated, but the main reasons is Saudi Money/Allies/Friends & foreign reporters shortage...

One of the reasons is that Saudi media and foreign policy is trying to image the war as if it is a Yemeni-criss not a Saudi led war on Yemen

another reason is that only few foreign journalists are able to report about Yemen because the unsafe situation, in best scenarios they might be hit by an airstrike or be kidnapped by terrorist/AQAP/ISIS groups.

Therefore foreign media either does not talk about it or copies foreign pro Saudi media headlines because Saudi is an ally as @user568458 mentioned.

but to be fair, human organizations do manage to write reports about War on Yemen some times, but even those countable reports about Yemen are either left with no response or condemned by Saudi Arabia.

Despite the dishonesty about war on Yemen although more than 10 months passed so far, the truth will prevail sooner or later, and every one will know about it such as what happened in Vietnam war. People started talking about Saudi war crimes formally such as this statement in the European parliament which condemned targeting Humanitarian Organization*(which was targeted by Saudi airstrikes)*.

  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. Me and a couple of other people from Spain have been tweeting about Yemen in the last few days with the hashtags #YemenGenocidioSilenciado and #LaCafeteraSOSYemen, we even made it trending topic on twitter! Even people from Yemen were tweeting with us! We can't let Yemen end up like Syria, we have to let the world know whats happening. When I se the photos from @YemenPostNews it just breaks my heart, I can't imagine what would be like to live in Sana'a right now. Good luck man, keep resisting!!
    – Suriya
    Feb 1, 2016 at 17:46
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    Thank you for caring about other nations, I am so happy seeing non Arabic speakers caring and knowing what truly is happening in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.... and I was observing #LaCafeteraSOSYemen as well, Spainsh and Latin English speakers were tweeting for Yemen last week, people started using social media to know the truth instead of propaganda which is controlled by money, we will keep resisting until we free the world from the factory of terrorism sooner or later.
    – user7188
    Feb 2, 2016 at 15:42
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    This is complete and total speculation, and not an answer. You need to provide sources for your claims. How exactly are the Saudis suppressing press coverage? Where are there sources for this? There is evidence of the danger to reporters in Yemen (en.rsf.org/yemen.html) but how is that different from other conflict zones? Also, this is a forum for answers, not predictions of personal reporting. Feb 3, 2016 at 21:14
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    The purpose of my comments is to help you improve you answer which is rambling irrelevant speculation. I AM TRYING TO HELP YOU not argue with you. SE is a community for answers not argument or speculation. Feb 11, 2016 at 20:04
  • This answer could be improved by adding sources. Otherwise it borders on conspiracy theory.
    – Gramatik
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:41

I'll tell the reason. The coallition that is bombing Yemen is lead by Saudi wahabists and Qatar, NATO and United States friends (because of oil? Probably), so American and European nespapers don't have much interest in exposing their allies. Qatari millionaires have bought actions of newspapers (in Spain, my country, for example) so they wouldn't let this to be posted for example.

Here is an article on the only decent newspaper out there talking about Yemen. In conclusion western countries are just protecting an old friend. Sounds like a conspiracy right? Maybe you just have to change your point of view.

PD: I did my part at least, as I do it on twitter. It's sad how Saudis do what they want with Yemen because nobody cares, as they didnt care about Syria before Paris attacks. At least more people know abou Yemen now...

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    Any citations for this or is this just a theory?
    – user1530
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:35
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    This is a Q/A site. We're interested in questions that can be answered objectively.
    – user1530
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:39
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    Not that we don't WANT to, but we simply don't know. We can toss out all sorts of theories...the most likely being "because it's not newsworthy enough for the newspaper's demographics combined with an overall slump in print media profits causing reduction in reporting staff overseas" but it's all just guessing. Not a suitable fit for this site.
    – user1530
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:43
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    @blip trust me, I knew that all the time, it's that even if I get 20 dislikes at least 1 person might have realised that there is a war in Yemen worth spreading. It's not for me. Not for the likes. It's for Yemenis because I've seen photos of a whole family dead, buried in debrees from their own house, trust me I cried when I saw that. They don't deserve it just because they are a Shia majority. Children so skinny. MSF hospital was just bombed by Saudis!! I mean WTF is wrong with them
    – Suriya
    Jan 25, 2016 at 20:06
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    One must Ask who is supporting Saudis war and war crimes in Yemen. Who is selling military equipment and weapons worth billions of dollars/pounds/euros? Same countries that underreport the war in Yemen and do not care about the fact that Saudis mostly destroy civilian infrastructure like schools, hospitals, etc. For example, the British do not only supply weaponry, but some of their military advisers sit together with Saudi military in the same control room, advising which targets to bomb in Yemen.
    – Noor
    Jan 29, 2016 at 23:29

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