According to the Digital2020 report, almost 18 million Yemenis has a cell phone out of the population of around 30 million., a. Although 60% of Yemenis have mobiles, only around 8 million people have access to the internet, and 2,5 million use the social media. However, this low percentage can still be considered as a huge step since compared to 2019, 403 thousand new users interact regularly on social media. The number of people having access to internet has grown by 177.000 since 2019). The Top 3 most frequently visited webpages are Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
A proposed new law to regulate the broadcast and online media was approved by the cabinet and submitted to parliament in December 2010. The draft law was principally aimed at defining the conditions under which private radio and television would be allowed to exist. However, it also aimed to regulate news websites based inside Yemen. Under the terms of the draft law, the government would have charged a fee of 20m riyals (approximately US$90,000), for a licence to set up and run a news website. Few independent operators could afford such a sum until now. Several political parties and news organisations have established an online presence.
About 200 Yemeni news websites are accessible from within the country, but limited public access to computers and government filtering of Internet content make it difficult for ordinary Yemenis to take full advantage of them. Many of the news websites are government-controlled, Others are propaganda mouthpieces for various opposition groups.
There are a number of professionally designed pro-government sites that concentrate on news from particular regions or governorates. These include: Akhbar al-Janub (News of the South), Lahj News, Ibb News and SaadahPress.
At the time of Saleh’s previous government (2009), a number of independent and opposition news websites were shut down. These included the news websites Al-Shura.net and Ishtiraki.net, Adenpress.com and the websites of four independent newspapers: Al-Ayyam, Al-Taghyir, Al-Masdar and Al-Wasat. Furthermore, the Yemeni government also blocked Yemenhurra.net, a website that covered the Saada conflict.
Several opposition parties also have their own websites which feature a combination of news and information about the organisation. These include Al-Sahwa (The Awakening), the official website of Islah. Al Masdar Online, the news website of the independent weekly newspaper Al-Masdar, is also very popular, possibly the most popular website of the last years.
Websites reflecting extra-parliamentary opposition or dissident viewpoints tend to be based outside the country. Many do not disclose their location. This might not come as a surprise since according to the Global Information Society Watch Yemen has no regulation protecting the privacy of internet users. Consequently, as the government has direct access to the servers of Yemen Net, the personal data of millions of Yemenis is subject to misuse.