Also blocked were opposition and independent news Web sites such as the news aggregator Yemen Portal ( Shabwah Press ( and al-Hadath (
In addition, citizens’ ability to change their government has been limited due to corruption, fraudulent voter registration, and administrative weakness.4 Still, despite the country’s conservative political practices, Yemen's press is considered among the freest in the Arab region.5 Yemen was rated by the Arab Advisors Group’s 2008 annual report as one of the lowest adopters of telecommunication services in the Arab world.6 The country lacks a robust telecommunications and information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
For example, by the end of 2007, fixed line broadband penetration in Yemen was as low as .05 percent.7 The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimates that only 1.4 percent of Yemen’s population uses the Internet and that the PC penetration rate is less than 3 percent.8 Many cannot afford—and are simply unfamiliar with—the equipment and services needed to access the Internet.9 Yemen is serviced by two ISPs: Yemen Net, which is a service of the government's Public Telecommunication Corporation (PTC),10 and Tele Yemen's Y.
Several political and Web sites run by opposition or independence groups were found blocked.
Examples include the Web site of the Yemeni Socialist Party ( and the Web sites of the political groups al-Shora and al-Ommah (
Search strings containing words such as “sex” and “porn" and other suggestive terms are blocked, as are some sites hosting gay and lesbian content, hacking information, dating and escort services, and non-erotic nudity.
The ISPs also filter some religious conversion sites and a limited number of Voice-over Internet Protocol (Vo IP) sites.
Internet filtering in the Republic of Yemen has begun to target political and news Web sites and continues to target a broad scope of pornography, GLBT content, and content that presents a critical view of Islam.
Despite the wide range of content censored, however, the depth of filtering in Yemen is inconsistent; many users of Yemen’s primary Internet service providers (ISPs) do not experience filtering when the user licensing quota in the filtering software agreement is exceeded.
When I find that a customer is navigating pornography website, I shut the customer's system automatically from my disk and I ask him to leave immediately."33 ONI ran in-country tests on Yemen's two ISPs, Yemen Net and Tele Yemen/Y.
Net, and found a significant increase in political filtering.
In March 2008, ONI verified reports that the Web site of Maktoob Blog (maktoobblog.com) was inaccessible in Yemen.