Tunisia: Rights groups condemn escalating attacks on journalists

Tunis, 12 October 2021

The undersigned Tunisian associations strongly condemn the continuous trend on the part of a number of political parties and figures to incite foreign states to intervene in the internal affairs of Tunisia, and to violate its sovereignty, because of what they call President Kais Said’s “coup” against the Constitution and his inclination for “personal power.” This includes most recently such a call by former President Moncef Marzouki during a demonstration in the French capital on 9 October.

It is worth recalling, in this regard, the continuous campaigns that the Islamist Ennahda Movement and its allies have led, and continue to carry out to mislead world public opinion, and particularly the U.S. Congress and Administration, against Tunisia.

While warning against the seriousness of this incitement, the associations consider it a stigma of infamy on these politicians, some of whom have been in power since 2011. Their participation has prioritized their partisan and personal interests, and led to the deterioration of political, economic and social conditions, and the spread of corruption and division among Tunisians, in a way unseen since the country’s independence.

The signatory associations stress, in this regard, that they distinguish between the right of every Tunisian to use the complaint and appeal mechanisms authorized by international and regional human rights conventions, and the call for assistance to foreign powers by these parties (who are accustomed to these practices), appealing for direct intervention.

On another level, the signatory associations condemn the heinous attacks against a number of journalists – particularly those working for Public Television, committed under the gaze of Islamist members of the suspended parliament, and their political allies. Serious threats to their safety were made by participants in the demonstration hostile to President Saied, held on October 10 on Avenue Bourguiba in the capital Tunis to denounce the suspension of several chapters of the constitution.

They consider these attacks and threats, and in particular those targeting the public media, which have not abated since 2012, as a clear indicator of the indifference of the aggressors and their party leaders to the freedom of the press, enshrined in the 2014 Constitution. They persist in fueling hatred against the members of the media who are committed to abiding by the professional and ethical standards of journalism.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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