1 June 2014

Tunisia - Continual Security Attacks On Media Professionals Threaten Freedom of Expression

press release

Cairo: — Today, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) deprecated the Tunisian security forces' attacks on a number of media professionals while they were covering a protest march in front of the Court of First Instance in Tunis.

On Tuesday May 27, a number of media professionals were covering a protest march outside the Court of First Instance in Kasserine Governorate. The march was to decry the trial of Saber Al-Amry and Essam Al-Amry, brothers to a martyr of the Tunisian revolution named Mohamed Al-Amry, over an accusation of setting fire to a police station. A security man slapped a reporter at Radio Tunis International named "Faeza Al-Magary". As a result, the report was fainted and the medical hearing device, she was wearing, was broken.

In the same context, security forces severely beat and kicked Arz Mansry- ِAl-Wakaa newspaper photographer- and media professional Rabee Gharsly. They were also pushed out of the court; consequently, Gharsly's camera was smashed. He was transferred to the general hospital in Kasserine and spent one night there. Additionally, two further media professionals, work for an online channel called Astrolabe, were attacked. They are Arwa Barakat and Sondos Zarouki.

"The persistence of Tunisian security forces' attacks on media professionals and journalists strongly threatens freedom of expression. It is also regarded as a clear indicator of the deterioration of freedom levels in Tunisia. Despite the fact that it (Tunisia) has been started to take some steps to achieve freedoms, in the aftermath of overthrowing dictator Ben Ali's regime. These repeated attacks also reveal Tunisian authorities' disrespect for the significance of journalism in transferring the truth besides its role in censoring and enlightening the public opinion. Such a role necessitates facilitating the right to information for journalists.

ANHRI urges Tunisian authorities to provide necessary protections for journalists, rather than attacking them, confiscating their freedoms and hindering their work to transfer the truth to the public opinion. It also calls for opening urgent investigation into the incident of attacking media professionals outside the Court of First Instance in Kasserine and holding all the perpetrators accountable.

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