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Yemen seizes Arab broadcasters’ equipment -
Yemen seizes Arab broadcasters’ equipment
March 12th, 2010 - 11:01 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
Two pan-Arab news channels said today that the Yemeni authorities had seized broadcasting equipment from their Sanaa bureaux by force because of their coverage of the growing unrest in Yemen’s south. A government official told state media that Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and the Saudi-owned channel Al Arabiya did not have proper authorisation for the equipment seized, and that it would be returned to them eventually.
Al Jazeera said Yemeni security forces had stormed its office in Sanaa on Thursday evening after being warned over its coverage of a southern secessionist movement on which the government recently launched a major crackdown. An official had telephoned Al Jazeera’s office earlier in the day, saying measures would be taken if the channel covered a meeting of southern opposition leaders, Murad Hashim, the head of Al Jazeera’s Sanaa bureau said on the channel’s website.
Al Arabiya also reported that some of its broadcasting equipment had been confiscated by police yesterday. Its bureau chief was questioned for two hours but then released, Nasser al-Sarami, head of media at Al Arabiya told Reuters. “They are concerned about the way we cover what is going on in the south. They didn’t give us a reason, but we believe this is the link,” Mr Sarami said.