Tunisian Journalist Mohamed Boughaleb Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison for Defamation

New York — The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Tunisian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalist Mohamed Boughaleb after he was convicted by a Tunis court of defamation and sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday.

"The sentencing of journalist Mohamed Boughaleb to six months in prison over social media posts and statements on television and radio is a clear attack against independent journalists and the freedom of the press," said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna, from New York. "Tunisian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Boughaleb and drop all charges against him."

Police arrested Boughaleb, a reporter with local independent channel Carthage Plus and local independent radio station Cap FM, in the capital, Tunis, on March 22. The arrest followed a complaint filed by an unnamed employee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs over the journalists' social media posts and statements on television and radio concerning the ministry's policies and ministry officials' visits abroad.

CPJ emailed the Tunisian Ministry of Religious Affairs for comment on Boughaleb's sentence but did not receive a reply.

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