Tunis/Tunisia — The Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) condemned the "gross assault" by police officers on journalists of TAP News Agency, in an attempt to forcibly install Kamel Ben Younes at the head of the institution.
The HAICA warned in a statement Wednesday against the approach taken by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi to public media, deeming it a real and direct threat to the future of press freedom in Tunisia.
The Authority said it rejected any partisan appointment that threatens the independence of public media and firmly condemns the use of force to impose appointments; "this is a serious precedent," the same statement added.
The HAICA also referred to the crisis at "Shems FM" Radio. It blamed the situation on the government's partisan appointment at the head of this media to serve political interests.
HAICA's stance comes after the police raided TAP headquarters on Tuesday and assaulted its staff, in an attempt to force the installation of Kamel Ben Younes at the head of the agency.
A protest rally will be staged in front of the agency's headquarters on the call of the national union of Tunisian journalists (SNJT) on Thursday April 15.
TAP staff, including journalists and administrative staff decided to observe a general strike on April 22 at the central and local levels, a first since the creation of the agency in 1961.