Tunisia: Journalists observe day of anger
Tunisian journalists on Thursday observed a day of anger to decry the sector’s situation, marked by a “deterioration” in freedom of expression, as they put it, reports TAP news agency.
They said they rejected what they described as “systematic” policies to control the media and pointed out that the current ruling power is an enemy of the media.
“Freedom of expression in Tunisia is now under threat in all spaces, including social networks,” they warned.
At a rally staged by the Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) in the Kasbah Square, they accused the government of mismanagement of the confiscated and public media, which is going through a financial crisis.
In a symbolic gesture, the journalists raised their professional cards and wore red armbands.
The protesters shouted slogans such as: “Free media, independent journalism,” “Freedom, freedom, no to the police system,” “No to Decree-Law 54,” and “The media is under siege, shame on you government!”
In an address to the protesters, SNJT President Mehdi Jelassi pointed out that this protest movement testifies to a joint will to defend the journalist’s profession, which will remain the voice of all sectors and all political orientations in full independence and objectivity.
Jelassi criticized the non-publication of the framework agreement for journalists that guarantees their financial rights. He voiced his firm rejection of the policies adopted by the State in dealing with the confiscated media, saying that the government is trying to liquidate these media and put their employees out of work.
“The current ruling power is an enemy of the media that would like to replace media establishments with Facebook pages to get its messages across,” Jelassi argued.
The arrest of Mosaique FM Director Noureddine Boutar is another attempt to intimidate the media, he considered, adding that the current leadership wants the media to comply with its policies.
The Union’s president criticized Decree Law 54 on crimes related to information and communication systems, saying that its aim is to silence the voices of the opposition.
Tunisian journalists were called by their union to wear red armbands on Wednesday and Thursday in all regions of the country and to stage protests in front of their media or government headquarters.