New Tunisian Prime Minister urged prioritization of press freedom guarantees
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the new Tunisian Prime Minister, Najla Bouden, to implement Tunisia’s commitments in terms of journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism, on the basis of Chapter 2 of the Tunisian constitution and international obligations of the country.
President Kais Saied yesterday asked university professor Bouden to form a new government, two months after declaring a state of emergency. Presidential Decree No. 117 grants Saied full powers, including the power to issue decrees regulating news and information, media and publishing.
Various violations of the right to provide news and information have been reported in recent days. The new Prime Minister must prioritize the implementation of President Saied’s commitment to preserve the gains of the last decade in terms of press freedom and the dissemination of news and information.
“It is essential for the future of the young Tunisian democracy that journalists can continue to play their role of independent watchdog by informing the public. said Souhaieb Khayati, head of RSF’s North Africa office. “We call on the Prime Minister to make press freedom one of the priorities of the new government and to do whatever is necessary to ensure, in consultation with representatives of journalists, that strong guarantees are put in place for the independence and pluralism of the media, in accordance with the Tunisian constitution and obligations. “
RSF is concerned about several incidents that have occurred in recent days. Several journalists were summarily detained by police yesterday, the day the new prime minister was appointed. IFM journalist Faïza Arfaoui was reserved for shooting without a permit. Lilia husseini, who works for National Radio, was physically assaulted by a police officer who took her to a police station and confiscated her equipment. Osama Chaouali, an investigative reporter for a television news program, was covering the trafficking of human remains at Jellaz cemetery when he and his team were arrested and detained for more than five hours.
Several journalists were threatened with violence on September 26 by demonstrators protesting against the president’s latest decisions. Khashf Media journalist Khoula Boukrim and photographer Aymen Touihri, Hakaek online journalist Yosra Chikhaoui, Press journalist Salma ghizeni and National Radio‘s Jihen alouane were ordered to “clear” and were accused of collaborating with “disgraced media”. Police intervened after hearing the threats.
Tunisia is ranked 73rd out of 180 countries in the RSF 2021 World Press Freedom Index.