This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 5 July 2019.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns an attack by a South Yemeni separatist group on the office of the state-owned news agency Saba in Aden, in southern Yemen, on 3 July. The armed attackers ransacked the premises but caused no injuries.
A video posted online shows men armed with knives tearing posters and insulting Saba journalists and other employees, who were expelled from the premises and threatened. The assailants also wrote messages on the walls warning against any attempt to reopen the news agency.
The attack was claimed by the Southern Transitional Council, a group led by former Aden governor Aydarus al-Zubaydi that wants an independent southern Yemen. It regardsSaba as a valid target because it is the official news agency of the Yemeni government headed by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which the international community recognizes.
“Media outlets are vital observers, not the actors of a conflict, says RSF’s Middle East desk. In no case may the journalists, or media outlets for whom they work, be legitimate targets for the parties of the conflict, and everything must be done to protect them and allow them to fulfill their essential role of information.”
A statement issued by the Yemen Journalists Syndicate held the Southern Transitional Council responsible for the attack and called on the security services in Aden to put a stop to such actions and to protect the news agency’s building and journalists.
Yemen is ranked 168th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
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Source: MEDIA FEED