Journalists are the fuel of the political battle in Tunisia

Journalists are the fuel of the political battle in Tunisia

The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists blames Kais Saied's opponents for the attacks on journalists and warns of the danger of a return to what it called "silencing."

Coverage from the heart of the event
Tunisia - The General University of Information in Tunisia described the attacks on journalists on Sunday by protesters affiliated with the Islamic Renaissance Movement as a "cowardly and dangerous" act, and considered it a "declaration of war and hostility against the sector and against the Tunisian press."

The organization affiliated with the Tunisian General Labor Union stated, “A number of protesters participating in the march that was held in the center of the capital and against the decisions announced by Tunisian President Kais Saied on the twenty-fifth of last July, deliberately attacked journalists, especially the press staff of the Tunisian national television, with stones and bottles, and raised hostile slogans. media, which led to the attack on several media professionals.”

Most of the journalists tasked with covering a protest called by the Islamic Ennahda Movement and its allies to defend what they called “legitimacy against the coup” on Leader Habib Bourguiba Street were attacked with physical and verbal violence and stone-throwing. The injured journalists, including the state TV crew, were taken to the hospital.

The General University of Media warned against the continuation of attacks and the speech of incitement and hatred against the media, and threatened to boycott each party that deliberately attacks or incites the media, regardless of the party, and warned of “the danger of the country’s return to the 2012 square characterized by the attack on the media and the sit-in of the revolution’s protection links in front of television and political assassinations.”

The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists has filed a lawsuit to prosecute the assailants and anyone who will uncover the research, and it has held the parties calling for this demonstration responsible for the attacks on journalists and photographers while covering protests in the capital, Tunis.

The Syndicate of Journalists said in a statement, "Journalists and photographers were subjected to horrific attacks by opponents of Kais Saied while covering a protest they organized on Habib Bourguiba Street in the capital, Tunis."

She stated that "the protesters targeted the Tunisian television team (official television), which was stationed above one of the kiosks (a small shop) to cover the events with water bottles and stones, after raising the slogan "Go away" in their faces.

It also condemned what it considered "the insistence of some (unspecified) political parties to involve journalists in battles that they have nothing to do with." The union called on "the Public Prosecution to act quickly against the aggressors."

The series of attacks on journalists was accompanied by the silence of most of the parties that claim to defend democracy. Member of the Executive Office of the National Syndicate of Journalists, Amira Mohamed, vice-president of the Tunisian Journalists Syndicate, held the parties calling for protests against Said's decisions and all those who stand behind the incitement against journalists and the mobilization against the media.

It is noteworthy that journalists have not been spared ten years of attacks from supporters of the Ennahda movement. At a time when the press got rid of the censorship of the political authority, journalists suffer from another type of censorship, which is the “social scramble,” as the leader of the Islamic Ennahda movement, Rashid Ghannouchi, called it. Everyone wants to direct the press.

Journalists have previously warned of the danger of a return to what they called “silencing,” and called on President Qais Saeed to activate his previous pledges to guarantee rights and freedoms.

Human rights advocates and international observers fear that the recent measures portend “the return of tyranny and the muzzling of mouths that Tunisians experienced during the period of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.”

Human rights organizations condemned the insistence of some political parties to involve journalists in battles that they have nothing to do with

The Journalists Syndicate said that it “follows with great concern the deterioration of the situation of freedoms and the escalation of the frequency of attacks and prosecutions, especially the recent referrals to the military judiciary against the background of opinions and ideas; What would undermine the gains of the revolution, the foundations of the civil state, and the values ​​of democracy, pluralism and diversity.”

She affirmed her "absolute rejection of military trials of civilians against the background of their opinions, positions and publications," considering this a "setback to freedom of expression and a blow to democracy and the right to disagree."

The Syndicate also announced its “total refusal to track journalists and opinion-makers based on their opinions and ideas,” considering that “professional errors and publishing issues are within the scope of the amendment bodies (regulators) of the profession and Decree 115 of the press, printing and publishing,” which prohibits the imprisonment of journalists because of their work.

The Tunisian president has repeatedly said that he “does not intend to establish a dictatorial regime or harm rights and freedoms,” but rather aims to “reform the situation after confirming that there is an imminent danger threatening the state.”

Journalists call on President Kais Saied to open up to professional organizations and constitutional bodies, listen to them, take their concerns seriously, and take measures in the direction of protecting freedom of expression.

A professor of constitutional law who is close to Qais Saeed, Ahmed Mahfouz, in a previous comment, ruled out that there is a will on the part of the president to trample on rights and freedoms. Mahfouz points out that “Saeed’s inclusion in the preamble to the constitution and articles 4 and 20 related to women’s rights and human rights is evidence that the president will not affect public liberties and rights.”
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