Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 21-09-2011

Serious concern has been raised by BBC World Service for its correspondent in Yemen, Abdullah Ghorab, after he was publically criticised by a government minister on 19 September.

Yemen’s deputy information minister, Abdo Al Janadi accused Mr Ghorab of filing lies and false news stories during a televised press conference. He went on to urge Yemeni authorities to rescind Mr Ghorab’s press accreditation, arrest him and “bring him to justice.”

“Abdullah Ghorab is a well respected journalist who is very committed to the BBC’s principles of impartiality, balance and accuracy,” said Liliane Landor, controller, languages, BBC Global News. Mr Al Janadi’s statement brings Abdullah under great threat and places serious restrictions on his ability to report the news from Yemen.”

The BBC says Yemeni security forces have detained and assaulted its Arabic service correspondent on two previous occasions.

“We are deeply concerned about Adbullah’s security and call on the authorities in Yemen to ensure his safety,” added Ms Landor.

In a statement, the BBC added that it is “vital for all journalists to be able to report freely on events in Yemen without fear of harassment and intimidation.”

The BBC’s appeal came as Yemeni’s capital Sana’a came under heavy gunfire and shelling for the third consecutive day, and the death toll from the recent violence escalated to 60.