Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Yemen
Region (Map name): Middle East
Population: 17,479,206
Language(s): Arabic
Literacy rate: 38%

In 1990 Southern and Northern Yemen merged to become the Republic of Yemen ( Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah ), which in size is about about twice the size of the state of Wyoming. While unification has proved difficult, with a secession attempt occurring in 1994, the state has remained relatively cohesive and there are indications that understanding and acceptance of national identity continues to increase. This is in part supported by Yemen's ( Al Yaman ) bold moves toward pluralism and democracy (22 registered political parties were reported in 2000) through conducting elections that on the whole continue to be open and fair, despite controversies that have arisen.

While economic and technological modernization is occurring in the country, Yemen, remains primarily rural (66 percent). Recent statistics suggest that in a country of almost 18 million people there are per 1,000 people: 283 television sets, 64 radios, 15 daily newspapers, 2 mobile phones, 19 mainline telephones overall with 77 conglomerated in the largest urban areas, and 2 personal computers. As well, approximately 15,000 use the internet.

Radio in both North and South Yemen began in the 1950s and was utilized by parties to promote their competing ideologies. The South was particularly helped by Voice of the Arabs and Radio Cairo in those early years and later by the Soviet Union and East European countries. The North received significant aid from the BBC Arabic Service and from Sharq al-Adna based in Cyprus and also operated by the British.

Today, while illiteracy is decreasing in Yemen— especially among men—radio remains a significant medium by which to communicate to the general populace. Radio is state-controlled through the Ministry of Information with the main broadcasting contact being Yemen Radio and Television Corporation (Dir. Ali Caleh Algamrah). There are two main domestic Arabic stations, one located in San'a and one in Aden, along with local stations in four other areas. Saudi and Omani broadcasts can also be picked up. Short wave and satellite frequencies are utilized on top of other domestic frequencies.

North Yemen first saw television in 1965 and the South in 1975. Today there are two channels with Yemen Radio and Television Corporation overseeing these. They broadcast primarily in Arabic with some news available in English. As well, Arabsat is utilized to broadcast to Europe and other regions of the Middle East.

The Press of the Republic of Yemen remains under significant state-control despite legislation that was enacted in 1990 guaranteeing its freedom. There are a small number of dailies and quite a number of weeklies/ monthlies operating. Dailies include:

  • Al-Jumhuriya (circulation 100,000)
  • Ar Rabi' 'Ashar Min Uktubar (circulation 20,000; chief editor, Muhammad Hussain Muhammad)
  • Ash-Sharara (The Spark, circulation 6,000)
  • Ath-Thawra (The Revolution; govt. owned; circulation 110,000; editor, Muhammad Az-Zorkah)

Of the other publications, some of the more largely circulated include:

  • Al-Wahda al-Watani (National Unity—formerly Al-Omal; circulation 40,000; monthly)
  • The Yemen Times (circulation 30,000; independent weekly; editor-in-chief, Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf)
  • 26 September (circulation 25,000; armed forces weekly)
  • Al-Fanoon (circulation 15,500; monthly; arts review)
  • Ash-Shura (circulation 15,000)

Other publications without circulation numbers include:

  • Yemeni Women (monthly)
  • Al-Yemen (weekly; center-right)
  • Ath-Thawri (weekly; used by the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP)
  • At-Ta'awun (Co-operation, weekly, supports cooperative societies)
  • Al-Bilad (weekly; center-right), Attijarah (monthly; trade)
  • Ar-Ra'i al-'Am (Public Opinion; weekly; independent)
  • As-Sahwa (Awakening; weekly; Islamic Fundamentalist)
  • Dar as-Salam (Peace; weekly; political, economic and general essays)

There were two news agencies operating in Yemen: Aden News Agency (ANA), which was government owned (Director General Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim), and SABA News Agency (Editor Husein Al-Awadi). However, recent BBC material suggests that only SABA remains. The Yemeni government maintains an Internet site and a number of other Yemeni publications are accessible via the Internet. SABA's Internet site has links to eleven other local Yemeni Internet publications—some solely Internet based and others operating both electronically and traditionally.


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Clint B. Thomas Baldwin

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