Reclaiming the Narrative: Framing of the Yemen Conflict in the Media

August 2021

The Yemen Policy Center (YPC) is pleased to invite you to a virtual discussion,

“Reclaiming the Narrative: Framing of the Yemen Conflict in the Media”
on August 5th,
2021, from 16:00-17:00 CET 

(10:00-11:00 EST; 15:00-16:00 BST)

At a time of unparallel flow of imagery and information, how has the conflict in Yemen been depicted, especially in Western media? Between the oversimplification of narratives and the scourge of one-dimensional descriptions, the conflict in Yemen has been reduced to a humanitarian crisis. This continual cycle of misdiagnosis fails to engage with broader issues in the country, which are seldomly described in political terms. On another level, this humanitarian narrative has animated an imagery of victimization where Yemenis are often portrayed as helpless victims confronted by problems to which only the aid organization can respond.

This framing is important because it shapes how people around the globe perceive the conflict in Yemen and understand what is important and why. This is especially critical for policymakers whose decision-making might be influenced by all the humanitarian imagery, films, articles and the ever-expanding medium of panel discussions on Yemen. Some important questions to ask here are: Whose narratives get to be highlighted in the media and how have these narratives been depicted so far? How does this framing shape others’ perception of Yemeni issues, as well as Yemenis’ perception of their own problems? What are the implications of this framing for policymaking on Yemen, specifically on how government policy and possible interventions are being made? Finally, how does this portrayal impact Yemeni lives and their future?

Yemen Policy Center is hosting a virtual panel discussion to provide a platform for discussion on the “Reclaiming the Narrative: Framing of the Conflict in Yemen in the Media.”


Hamza Shiban, is a photographer and filmmaker with a background in media and communications. He joined Al-Madaniya team in 2018 and became the managing editor. He was also a co-founder at #SupportYemen Arts Collective, where he worked on social justice, advocacy campaigns and short documentary films. He was trained by the Scottish Documentary Institute and is a member of the Australian Screen Editors. He holds a master’s degree in Media Studies from University of Malaya.


Nadwa Al-Dawsari, is a researcher and conflict practitioner with twenty years of field experience in Yemen where she worked with tribes, civil society, local authorities, security actors, and non-state armed groups. She is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute. She held several positions including a country director for the Center for Civilians in Conflict and a founding director of Partners Yemen.

Iona Craig, is a multi-award-winning, Irish-British freelance journalist. Since 2010 her work has focused on Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. Iona lived in Sana’a from 2010 to 2015 as The Times (of London) Yemen correspondent, covering Yemen’s revolution, America’s growing covert war in the country and the civil war that began in 2014. In addition to her journalistic work, she heads-up the Yemen Data Project, which collates data on airstrikes and political violence in Yemen.

Yousef Assabahi, is a Yemeni-American writer and director. His first short film, A Patriot Act, won the Best Student Film award at the Nevada International Film Festival, and his 2nd film, Landmined, was screened in multiple countries. Yousef has also written and directed commercials and musical clips.

Mariam Al-Dhubhani, is a Yemeni-Russian award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and curator. She first pursued her passion for media during the 2011 Arab uprisings and co-founded her first media production. Her films have been screened globally in festivals such as Carthage, Interfilm, and Oaxaca. She also utilizes Virtual Reality in highlighting stories from Yemen.

photo taken by: Peter Biro

Register for the event here

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References :

[1]YPC nationwide representative survey, April–July 2019. Data cited in this paper is drawn from this survey unless otherwise indicated.

[2] UN News “Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN” Feb 2019. (Accessed 3 March 2020).

[3] Wadhah Al-Awlaqi and Maged Al-Madhaji, Rethinking Yemen’s economy: Local governance in Yemen amid conflict and instability, July 2018. (Accessed 8 March 2020); Mansour Rageh, Amal Nasser, and Farea Al-Muslimi, “Yemen without a Functioning Central Bank: The Loss of Basic Economic Stabilization and Accelerating Famine,” Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, November 2016. (Accessed 23 May 2018).

[4]Data source: OCHA, “Humanitarian needs overview 2019: Yemen”, December 2018. (Accessed 11 March 2020).

[5] Final report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen, addressed to the President of the Security Council, January 2020. (Accessed 11 March 2020).

[6] Mareike Transfeld, “Implementing Stockholm: The Status of Local Security Forces in al-Hodeidah,” YPC Policy Report, Yemen Polling Center, Policy Report, November 2019. (Accessed 16 February 2020).

[7] Mareike Transfeld and Shaima Bin Othman, “The State of the Police in Western Yemen”, YPC research debrief, Yemen Polling Center, Research Debrief, January 2020. (Accessed 16 February 2020).

[8] Amnesty International, “Yemen: Fierce new offensive displaces tens of thousands of civilians from Hodeidah” May 2018. (Accessed 5 March 2020).

[9] Maged Sultan, Mareike Transfeld and Kamal Muqbil, “Formalizing the Informal State and Non-State Security Providers in Government-Controlled Taiz City,” YPC Policy Report, Yemen Polling Center, July 2019. (Accessed 16 February 2020).

[10] Nadwa al-Dawsari , “Tribal Governance And Stability In Yemen “, The Carnegie papers, Carnegie endowment (April 2012). (Accessed 5 March 2020).

[11]CIVIC, “We Did Not Know If We Would Die From Bullets Or Hunger” Civilian Harm and Local Protection Measures in Yemen “, Jan 2019, (Accessed 5 March 2020).

[12] Fatima Saleh and Ahmed al-Sharjabi “Institutional Prerequisites for the STC “Coup” in Aden and Perspectives on the Jeddah Deal” , research debrief, Yemen Polling Center, Oct 2019. (Accessed 16 February 2020).

[13] Human Rights Watch, “Yemen: Riyadh Agreement Ignores Rights Abuses”, December 2019, Accessed 5 Mar 2020; Human Rights Watch,  “Yemen: UAE Backs Abusive Local Forces” June 2017.

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