8 April 2014

Tunisia: ANHRI Condemns Constant Abuse Against Media Professionals By Citizens and Political Groups

press release

Cairo: — The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today decried the ongoing violations committed against journalists and media professionals in Tunisia by citizens and political groups. Some individuals belonging to the Tunisian Renaissance Movement attacked, on April 2, "Nessma TV" channel crew, leaving its cameraman wounded in his shoulder. Also, EGS Gafsa fans group prevented, on April 6, media professionals from covering a football match between EGS Gafsa and Stade Gabésien.

On the 2nd of April, "Nessma TV" channel crew was beaten by a group of individuals affiliated with the Tunisian Renaissance Movement. The crew was attacked while they were covering the latest events in the wake of burning the headquarters of the 'labor union' in Tunisian Ben Ghardane. Journalist "Tariq AlKhadrawi", channel crew coordinator "Walid bin Naseeb", and photojournalist "Amin Alberni"- injured in his shoulder- had all been assaulted by the Renaissance Movement group. This was before they were rescued by their friends, who interfered and saved them from the aggressors.

In the same context, EGS Gafsa fans group precluded media professionals from entering Gafsa's Olympic Stadium with their cameras in order not to cover the football match between EGS Gafsa and Stade Gabésien on the 6th of April. Such a matter occurred in protest against the media coverage presented by TV channels to the Tunisia National Football Team's refusal of EGS Gafsa's petition with regard to the illegal participation of Stade Gabésien's player in a previous match.

Noticeably, the security bodies in the pitch took no action and failed to protect the media professionals, which forced them to announce their boycott of the match. They just transfered the news of work suspension.

The Arabic Network said "Violations committed against media professionals in Tunisia strongly threaten the democratic path, in which Tunisia has taken steps forward, after the overthrow of Ben Ali, comparing to other Arab Spring countries. Such violations represent a strong indication of the possibility of returning the target of journalists and media professionals in a more powerful way, especially that security forces did not intervene to stop such harassment that appears to be a flagrant violation of freedom of expression".

ANHRI calls on citizens and political groups to halt their crackdown on journalists and media professionals, as well as the attempts to preclude them from carrying out their work, which is to convey the truth to people. It also demands from them to respect freedom of expression as a basic right for all parties regardless of their ideas and attitudes. Moreover, ANHRI urges security forces to abandon its silence over the violations committed against media professionals, and to intervene in order to stop these abusive practices and not participate in such an act.

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