29 May 2012

Tunisia: Premises of Privately-Owned TV Station Ransacked

Reporters Without Borders roundly condemns the ransacking of privately-owned TV station El Hiwar Ettounsi in the northwestern Tunis suburb of Manouba on the night of 26 May.

The station has put its losses in equipment damaged or removed at around 100,000 euros.

"The fact that the intruders destroyed some equipment on the spot and removed other equipment but left the station's cash suggests that their aim was to sabotage its activities," Reporters Without Borders said. "This attack is very worrying. It means that a real danger exists for freedom of information in Tunisia."

The police went to the station the next day to gather evidence. The station's representatives said the video footage of the attack recorded by its surveillance cameras should help the police to identify the assailants and their motives.

"The Tunisian authorities should make it a point of honour to arrest the instigators of this act of vandalism in order to finally end the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for all the violence against media and journalists in recent months," said Reporters Without Borders, which pledges to follow the investigation closely.

One of five new TV stations to receive broadcast permits since the revolution, El Hiwar Ettounsi has been repeatedly threatened in recent months on Facebook, on which reference was made to an attack a few days before it took place. It poses a threat to the station's future and the scale of the damage could have a lasting effect on its operations.

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