06/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Yemen silences independent media - why should YOU care?

Al Qaeda training in Yemen.
Al Qaeda training in Yemen.

Octavia Nasr

CNN Senior Middle East Affairs Editor

AC360° Contributor

Eight independent newspapers were shut down last week by orders of the Yemeni Ministry of Information. Hundreds of people took to the streets in Sanaa and other major cities to protest the move, according to media reports. Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh accused the newspapers of "harming Yemen's national unity." In a televised statement, he said, "Some newspapers use exaggerated slogans under the pretext of democracy and shamelessly promote divisiveness."

The move comes on the heels of recent news coverage about clashes in the

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