Tunisia: WHO Calls for Suspension of TV Programme That Would Be Detrimental to Public Health

Tunis/Tunisia — In a recent letter to the Minister of Health, the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Tunisia, Yves Souteyrand, called for an end to a television programme broadcast on a private channel in the form of a candid camera, considering that it constitutes a prejudice to public health, and seriously violates the image of UN organizations, by associating them with a counterproductive parody of the vaccination.

"This programme is presented in the form of a hidden camera during which, each day, a Tunisian personality (politician, actor, singer, sportsman, etc.) is trapped.

Invited to answer an interview, this personality is put in the presence of a look-alike of the actress Angelina Jolie, presented as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations.

The latter would supposedly come to offer Tunisia a batch of vaccines against COVID-19, which would have according to the programme 'obtained the agreement of the WHO.

A renowned Tunisian cardiologist confirmed the quality of this vaccine.

The guest was then asked to promote vaccination by accepting to be vaccinated himself. However, the first person vaccinated pretended to die after a few minutes on camera and the presenter of the show, also vaccinated on camera, was a victim of severe side effects," reads the letter, a copy of which was sent to TAP.

The WHO representative in Tunisia stresses that this programme, broadcast daily, and supposed to produce a comic effect, raises a double concern for the WHO.

Indeed, vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the most effective weapons in the response to the epidemic. It is known that some people are reluctant to be vaccinated and that major efforts must be made to build confidence in the vaccine.

"The media has a role to play in this area. However, it is feared that such a programme broadcast on a popular channel at a time of large audience, does not contribute on the contrary, by associating the vaccine with death or serious side effects, to promote skepticism, hesitation to the vaccine and conspiracy", reads the same source.

Besides, this programme misuses the visual identity of the WHO: logos (e.g. on vaccine boxes), the Organisation's flag, and video backgrounds of the WHO Director General at a press conference.

It also uses the visual identity of the United Nations, which is likely to damage the image of these organisations, according to Souteyrand.

The letter was also addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians abroad, the President of the High Independent Authority of Audio-visual Communication and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Tunisia.

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