Yemeni president orders return of confiscated transmitters to Arab TVs

09:52, March 18, 2010      

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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has issued directives to return transmitter gears confiscated from news teams of al-Jazeera and al-Arabia in Sanaa last week, an official of the Information Ministry said Wednesday.

"The president directed the Ministry of Information yesterday ( Tuesday) to return transmitter equipment to the news teams of both satellite TV channels," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

"The ministry informed the Sanaa-based directors of both TV channels on Tuesday," he added, declining to provide further details.

A reporter with the al-Jazeera TV's Sanaa office confirmed that his colleagues were informed Tuesday of the orders of President Saleh.

"We were informed yesterday of such orders, but the office decided not to announce anything until the authorities really return the transmitter gears to the office," he told Xinhua by phone, requiring not to be named.

Last week, Yemeni security authorities confiscated the transmitters of al-Jazeera and al-Arabia satellite TV channels over what the authorities said non-neutral coverage on the latest clashes between government forces and separation activists in southern provinces.

On March 8, the official Saba news agency reported that local councils in southern Yemen sent letters to Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar, demanding the government to close the regional office of the al-Jazeera in Yemen over what they claimed "false and disservice reports against the country."

An official source with the Information Ministry said on Sunday that Yemen has criticized al-Jazeera over reports on the situation in its southern provinces of Dhale and Abyan, saying the channel had fabricated stories.

Source: Xinhua
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