Daniel Halliday
Jul 2 · Last update 2 days ago.
Why is the War in Yemen so under reported in the mainstream media?
The civil war in Yemen has a death toll amounting to 8-13,000 casualties, and has displaced over three million people since 2015. For such terrible circumstances, why has there been relatively little media coverage?
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The number of casualties of the civil war in Syria far outstretches that of Yemen
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The Media is a profit making organisation
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The media in many countries has actively played down their countries role in Yemen’s civil war
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The UN’s report accusing both sides of war crimes should help shed light on this humanitarian crisis
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Many conflicts are similarly under reported, Yemen is not an isolated case
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The number of casualties of the civil war in Syria far outstretches that of Yemen

There has been somewhat limited coverage of Yemen’s latest civil war in the mainstream media. But this may be due to the war in Syria having further reaching implications, especially regarding the issue of the immigration of asylum seekers into Europe. The situation in Syria has been further complicated by the presence of ISIS and has lead more international parties to become involved in the war. Nearly half a million have died in Syria and over 7 million have become displaced.

In Yemen however over 60,000 people have died and over 3 million are displaced. The news coverage is usually divided by geographical region so that limited coverage is dedicated to similar continental regions. So media coverage will reflect only a certain amount of conflict in a whole large region and therefore international news coverage has dedicated more time to covering Syria than Yemen for this region.

But it is under this shadow of turmoil and confusion that large scale war crimes and a growing influence of al-Qaeda have occurred. However, as the war in Syria looks like it is drawing to an end with the US considering withdrawal, and various forces now concentrating on removing the ISIS threat, border roads into the country are now being reopened, and coverage of Yemen may pick up in the Middle East. Arguably more attention needs to be focused in the media on both obvious war crimes that have affected both nations and this growing risk al-Qaeda splinter groups represent for the future stability of the region.

bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41830119 dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5490129/Syria-war-killed-350-000-7-years-monitor.html huffingtonpost.ca/unicef-canada/children-war-refugee-syria-yemen_a_23400885 news.vice.com/en_ca/article/wjz7wb/al-qaeda-is-thriving-in-syrias-chaos

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
There has been somewhat limited coverage of Yemen’s latest civil war in the mainstream media. But this may be due to the war in Syria having further reaching implications, especially regarding the issue of the immigration of asylum seekers into Europe. The situation in Syria has been further complicated by the presence of ISIS and has lead more international parties to become involved in the war. Nearly half a million have died in Syria and over 7 million have become displaced.
The Media is a profit making organisation

To make profit from news, mainstream new corporations have to somewhat sensationalise stories in order to engage possible buyers (customers/readers/viewers). This is especially apparent now in the age of the internet, where people are buying less newsprint, and news companies are vying for clicks in a much larger online market. "Clickbait" journalism, sensationalism, and sometimes fake news are being published by many online sources, which sometimes inevitably end up in mainstream media.

This environment has left some in mainstream media focusing more of their attention on popular issues, following trends and becoming less impartial, which has arguably lead many news organisations to the large scale "dumbing-down" of their content. This may not even be that malicious an intention as Vox's Graphics Reporter Alvin Chang has spoken of attempting to use cartoons and animation to help convey complex issues and sensitive debates to an average causal viewer. Likewise award winning journalist Kirstie McCrum points out that although the majority of journalists want to cover meaningful topics and promote independent thoughts on such topics, this high brow content is just not what readers want any longer.

These factors have all contributed to patchier and more biased news coverage by the mainstream media, and this has definitely effected coverage of stories such as Yemen’s civil war. In an age where many journalists are paid by the “click”, and audiovisual news media increasingly turn to sensationalist sound bites to attract viewers. Complex multifaceted stories that require long detailed explanation of history and economic support are inescapably becoming unprofitable in such an industry, and some are therefore overlooked.

dailykos.com/stories/2012/3/3/1070493/-The-television-news-media-in-America-The-dumbing-down-of-a-nation bbc.com/news/uk-wales-34213693 medium.com/@kirstiemccrum/yes-journalisms-dumbing-down-but-it-s-giving-readers-what-they-want-2da332b93964 thepolitic.org/fishing-for-truth-politics-in-the-era-of-clickbait-journalism

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
These factors have all contributed to patchier and more biased news coverage by the mainstream media, and this has definitely effected coverage of stories such as Yemen’s civil war. In an age where many journalists are paid by the “click”, and audiovisual news media increasingly turn to sensationalist sound bites to attract viewers. Complex multifaceted stories that require long detailed explanation of history and economic support are inescapably becoming unprofitable in such an industry, and some are therefore overlooked.
The media in many countries has actively played down their countries role in Yemen’s civil war

As the civil war now features a Saudi-lead coalition supported or funded by a variety of governments such as the US, the UK, France, Australia, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, Brazil, Finland, Bosnia, Eritrea, Italy, and Germany coverage in these regions has been scant. This coalition's tactics of large scale indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas is arguably worse than what has been seen in Syria or Iraq. At such a touch and go time, where trust in the government is low in both Trump-era America, an increasingly far-right Europe and, a Brexit-era Britain, anything that could possibly cause the reader to question their countries diplomatic relationship to a close ally could be seen as disastrous. Therefore the news media focuses on stories that will not undermine the status quo as much, or cause further anger towards their governments, and coverage of such events is usually scant or not detailed enough to cause the viewer to question their country's support.

The media have been historically society's platform to question government, big businesses and global events. Yet as the mainstream news media have become such a global corporate entity itself its role has shifted to a much more investor focused, self serving one, run more as a business than a public institution. The media's relationship to big businesses and government figures has changed the type of content and the amount of certain content that they are publishing.

A good example of this is current US president Donald Trump who, through his connection to America Media CEO David Pecker, has been purchasing scandalous news stories that implicate Trump for many years. David Pecker, being a close friend of Trump’s chooses to not publish the stories, but as he has purchased the rights to the story he is stopping other news agencies from reporting, effectively covering up the issue and removing it from the public sphere altogether. Furthermore the involvement of media magnates such as Rupert Murdoch in multiple media corporations while enjoying access to high ranking politicians and showing clear political bias in all matters reported on his networks, the mainstream media seems little more than propaganda tool of private interests.

amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/08/yemens-horror-exposes-the-deadly-hypocrisy-of-arms-exporters-including-britain-and-the-u washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pentagon-loses-sight-of-500-million-in-counterterrorism-aid-given-to-yemen/2015/03/17/f4ca25ce-cbf9-11e4-8a46-b1dc9be5a8ff_story.html?utm_term=.aeaa72d2f3fc

usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/06/11/what-rupert-murdoch-owns/71089066 aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2015/12/political-influence-rupert-murdoch-media-empire-david-cameron-151227160053724.html uow.edu.au/~sharonb/mediachap.html nytimes.com/2018/08/30/nyregion/trump-cohen-national-enquirer-american-media-recording.html

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/06/11/what-rupert-murdoch-owns/71089066/ https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2015/12/political-influence-rupert-murdoch-media-empire-david-cameron-151227160053724.html https://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/mediachap.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/nyregion/trump-cohen-national-enquirer-american-media-recording.html
The UN’s report accusing both sides of war crimes should help shed light on this humanitarian crisis

The media has struggled to depict this multi-party internal conflict between the government and rebel forces in different governorates of the country. With US drone strikes against Al-Qaeda being prevalent before the outbreak of full-scale civil war, and al-Qaeda playing a prominent role in the conflict also, the Yemen Civil War has become a truly complex situation. To complicate the matter further Houthi rebels claim the government is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and the Hadi government likewise accused the Houthis of having Iranian financial and supply connections.

This accusation, in addition to a perceived US softening on Iran during the Obama administration, led the Saudi coalition to invade without notifying the UN or US. The United States Special Operations Command argued against a Saudi-led coalition and initially favoured the Houthis as they were effective at fighting al-Qaeda. However the political decision was made to support Saudi Arabia, for the United States to receive Saudi help on the Iran Nuclear situation in return. The US seemingly favoured the Saudi coalition over being left out of this messy intervention, or backing the fight against al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the region. This ultimately made the narrative of this situation more complicated, and was therefore difficult for the media to portray accurately.

But following repeated Saudi air strikes on civilian regions, the call for a cessation of violence in the media has grown. This has been boosted by the UN’s (rather late) report accusing both sides of war crimes, following the earlier veto of UN security council resolutions that would have pressured Iran. This has led to a resurgence of media coverage that seems to have caused public outcry in America, and a political backlash has followed, with the United States Senate voting to block further US involvement in the conflict in March 2019.

dw.com/en/russia-vetoes-un-yemen-resolution-targeting-iran/a-42751326 america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-strikes-in-yemen-a-bad-idea.html aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/senate-passes-bill-halt-saudi-military-support-yemen-190314011632526.html

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
The media has struggled to depict this multi-party internal conflict between the government and rebel forces in different governorates of the country. With US drone strikes against Al-Qaeda being prevalent before the outbreak of full-scale civil war, and al-Qaeda playing a prominent role in the conflict also, the Yemen Civil War has become a truly complex situation. To complicate the matter further Houthi rebels claim the government is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and the Hadi government likewise accused the Houthis of having Iranian financial and supply connections.
Many conflicts are similarly under reported, Yemen is not an isolated case

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in a state of instability since the early 1990’s. The Ituri conflict is the most recent flare up in a long line of conflicts in the DRC, with rural ethnic conflicts becoming increasingly violent. NGOs such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, that are currently stationed in the DRC, have reported that the big wars of the Congo that were really on top of the agenda 15 years ago are back and worsening. Due to the violence taking place between farmers and herders of different ethnic backgrounds, the UN has speculated that the tension could put two million children at risk of starvation. Yet there is still an inadequate level of mainstream news coverage.

Despite the monumental overall death toll causing some to call conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the most bloody conflict since the Second World War, in the December 2017 to February 2018 alone more than 300,000 people were displaced and 70 villages burned to the ground. Meanwhile Rwanda’s economic policies seemingly receive more news coverage than the ongoing conflict in Ituri Province, despite both Rwanda and Uganda being implicated in it. Such situations remain tense with many thinking this will continue due to the clear connection to powerful political and private interests exploiting the ethnic tensions of the region, yet there is a relative media blackout.

There are many reasons for this, the situation is so dangerous and the violence on-going that to report in this situation poses great physical difficulty as the environment is so remote and dangerous. Also as a long unchanging situation over such a very long time, it is difficult to report on, as it may seem repetitive, like nothing has changed. However this makes it a more important, more imperative piece of news to inform people of, such disastrous situations that do not and have not changed cannot fall to the back of a newsrooms editing floor.

ipsnews.net/2019/01/many-humanitarian-crises-reported huffingtonpost.com/jan-egeland/refugee-crisis-wwii-aid-_b_5791776.html irinnews.org/analysis/2018/04/04/politics-and-oil-unseen-drivers-violence-congo-s-ituri-province

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
There are many reasons for this, the situation is so dangerous and the violence on-going that to report in this situation poses great physical difficulty as the environment is so remote and dangerous. Also as a long unchanging situation over such a very long time, it is difficult to report on, as it may seem repetitive, like nothing has changed. However this makes it a more important, more imperative piece of news to inform people of, such disastrous situations that do not and have not changed cannot fall to the back of a newsrooms editing floor.
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