Meeting to Discuss Blasphemy Campaign [Archives:2000/31/Local News]

July 31 2000

Attended by of a number of local and foreign correspondents the Minister of Information, Abdulrehman Al-Akwa’, last Monday bitterly attacked Sheikh Abdulmajeed Al-Zindani, Chairman of Al-Islah Shoora Council.
Speaking at a meeting at the Journalists’ Union headquarters, the Minister said: “Zindani has not spared a single abusive and indecent word in his orations against my Ministry and myself as well as all media men.” The Minister disclosed that his Ministry intends to file a legal suit against Zindani for his attacks against him personally and his Ministry.
The “Yemen Times” put three questions to the Information Minister. His reply to two questions were too short while he escaped the third question. In the first question the Minister was asked to elaborate reasons for the attacks which the official media have been hurling against the citizen: Al-Zindani; thus violating his rights. The second question was over his Ministry’s attitude towards the legal cases filed against “Al-Nas” and “Al-Ahya Al-Arabi” newspapers for publishing news stories of “Al-Thaqafiyah” weekly trial. Through its third question, the “Yemen Times” wanted to know why there was not any independent media pluralism after ten years of Unification.
Most questions put to the Minister by the correspondents were on “infidelity” and media exchange of accusations between the ruling GPC and the YRC. However a specific question on the indulgence of Sheikh Omer Ahmed Saif as a party in the conflict was brushed off by the Minister.
The Minister looked as if trying to dominate over the meeting and win the favor of the attendants by offering himself as a man who can tackle all their problems. The attendants agreed among themselves to fix a date for meeting the Minister over their problems when he said:” We are not infallible because, after all, we are human beings.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Awkaf (Endowments) is to hold a similar meeting at the Journalists’ headquarters.