17 October 2012

Tunisia: Journalists' Strike - Participation Rate Higher Than 90 Percent

Tunis — According to the first estimates, the participation rate in Wednesday's general strike of journalists has been higher than 90%, pointed out a source from the National Tunisian Journalists Union (SNJT).

"We are on strike," shouted Tunisian journalists from the various public and private press institutions in an unprecedented rally in front of SNJT's headquarters.

"Dar Assabah, the Red Line," "Freedom of Press, Foundation of Democracy," "The Citizens' Right to Information," "Free Media," "The Radio is Public, Not Governmental," "A People who Falls Asleep in Freedom Awakens in Bondage," "Rehabilitation of the Fourth Estate," chanted the journalists in chorus. Others chose to express themselves with stickers on their mouths which read "No to Control!"

Representatives of civil society and the political parties, as well as men of culture, came in large numbers to support the strike movement.

Presence of Arab and international organisations was also remarkably manifest, not to mention that of the International Federation of Journalists which was represented by secretary-general Elisabeth Costa. It is worth noting, also, that the Arab Journalists' Federation deputy-chairman Abdelwaheb Zghilet attended the event.

The strike--the first of its kind in Tunisia's whole history--scored an unseen-before success, said an SNJT bureau member, before calling on the attending journalists to head to the premises of Dar Assabah to express their support to journalists there who have been on a hunger strike since October 10.

The journalists' general strike had been decided by SNJT after "exhaustion of all means of dialogue" and "because of "Government's obstinate attitude and its refusal to respond positively to the journalists' demands," reads the general motion of SNJT's enlarged executive bureau, dated September 25, 2012.

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