17 October 2012

Tunisian Journalists on Strike to Defend Freedom of Expression

Tunis — Tunisian journalists are staging a strike during the whole day on Wednesday to demand the establishment of freedom of expression.

The resort to general strike has been decided by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) after the failure of dialogue and on account of the persistent refusal of the government to meet the demands of journalists and all the media staff, reads the general motion of the SNJT extended executive committee dated last September 25.

The claims of journalists focus on the following thirteen items:

listing freedom of expression, of the press and of creation without any reservation in the new Constitution.

Enforcing government decrees n°115 and 116 , setting up the Independent broadcasting regulatory authority as soon as possible, and rejection of draft laws providing for penalties against journalists or restricting freedom of the press or expression.

Securing journalists' right of access to information, in accordance with government decree n°41 dated 2011.

Revising recent appointments landed on public media and media in receivership, including "Dar Essabah", and cancelling of decisions taken to this end while regarding the appointments to these posts of people involved in the propaganda of the former regime of Ben ALi as a violation of the Tunisian Revolution objectives.

Actually separating management and editorial staff, setting up editorial committees through elections or consensus; working out the editorial staff charter and revision of already written texts.

Categorically rejecting any violation of freedom of unions, any restrictions and penalties on journalists for their union positions and refusing any deduction from striking journalists' wages.

Sorting out insecure situations in the different media; rejecting illegal recruitment methods; ensuring transparency in competitive exams, on the basis of skills and in accordance with the provisions of the labour law and its relevant conventions.

Reinstating of journalists unfairly dismissed or those whose contracts have been ended, or else those transferred without taking into account the legal procedures in force within the Tunisian radio broadcasting institution.

Converting Dar Essabah journalists' back wages into shares in the enterprise capital and setting up of an editors' company.

Criminalising physical and material attacks on journalists and the sector staff and opening a serious investigation into these violations.

Revising the composition of the board of directors of Tunisia's television broadcasting authority in conformity with international standards.

Adopting of a standard collective agreement for all Tunisian journalists.

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