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Al-Saeeda headquarters destroyed by gunfire, station executive killed

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 23 October 2011 - ANHRI condemns ongoing attempts to gag and intimidate media practitioners after the Al-Saeeda television station headquarters was set on fire in the Sofaa area of the capital, Sanaa, on 22 October. The building was destroyed after being bombarded with heavy weapons amid clashes between pro- and anti-Saleh forces. One employee of the station was killed and another was injured by snipers whose identity has not yet been revealed.

The station issued a statement calling the incident "criminal" and in violation of both Islamic law and any human morality, and said that it represents a form of terrorism against media staffers in particular.

The clashes between the armed pro-Saleh supporters and pro-democracy supporters claimed the life of Al-Saeeda Finance Chief Fouad Abdul-Jabbar Al-Shumeiry and injured Monitoring Chief Mohammed Ghani Debwan.

Al-Saeeda satellite channel was founded in 2007 as the first private television station in the country. It has tried to remain neutral in its coverage of the Yemeni uprising, providing equal air time to the opposition and to supporters of the regime as part of its commitment to upholding professional standards.

"Despite our support for the Yemeni people's persistence in pursuing their revolution, and our hope that they will succeed in toppling the Saleh regime, these armed confrontations between the tribes and pro-Saleh forces portray the situation as a tribal conflict, not a popular uprising with legitimate demands," said ANHRI.

"It is regrettable that the independent media has become the victim of armed clashes between these two parties. Media freedom must be guaranteed to allow the media to play its role of informing public opinion and disseminating the truth. Media should never be the target of an armed conflict."

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