Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
The government continued to restrict press freedom in 2003 by tightly controlling its monopoly on domestic broadcast media, allowing vague laws restricting press freedom to remain in force, and intimidating journalists critical of government policy. Yemen's constitution provides for freedom of the press, but the overall legal framework regulating the press is weak. Article 103 of the Press and Publications Law prohibits direct personal criticism of the head of state, and the penal code provides for fines and imprisonment for publishing "false information" that "threatens public order or the public interest." The weakness of Yemen's judiciary and the ambiguity about who has the power to interpret the meaning of vague articles in laws affecting the press create an environment in which journalists do not feel secure in their right to criticize the government and debate issues freely. In 2003 the number of journalists detained and arrested declined, but reports of government intimidation of the media and of self-censorship among journalists continued. The ministry of information controls most of the printing presses in the country and provides subsidies to most newspapers. Only two newspapers own their own presses. The government enjoys a monopoly in the domestic broadcast media, which has a wider impact than the print media due to the high rates of illiteracy in Yemen, and it generally prevents reporting critical of the government in those media.