A private Tunisian TV channel has gone ahead with the broadcast of a controversial hidden camera exposé programme. "Shalom" tackles the issue of normalisation with the Israeli occupation, Quds Press has reported.
Tunisna Channel explained that the programme shows a scenario whereby a politician or public figure is supposedly invited for an interview with CNN. It turns out, though, that the "interviewer" is actually an Israeli official offering the guest the opportunity to deal with Israel in exchange for financial and political support.
According to producer Walid Zribi, the "guests" have been putting pressure on Tunisna not to broadcast "Shalom". The media expert explained that the programme "aims to expose Tunisian political figures who are willing to deal with Israel."
The channel denied allegations that it was under pressure not to broadcast the programme and pointed out that the broadcast material does not meet the normal quality standards. It added that the current context of the Palestinian issue makes the content of the programme a clear provocation to viewers and a search for excitement in a subject that does not tolerate humour or derision. It added that those who were stung by the programme were "mainly a group of artists and politicians who have no authority or influence to exert pressure on any party."
According to the presidential foreign affairs adviser Anouar Al-Gharbi, "The idea of a hidden camera programme over the normalisation with the Zionist occupation at this time in particular raises many question marks." He pointed out that Tunisians are fully in favour of the unarmed Palestinians who face the crimes of the Israeli occupation in the Great Return Marches.
"The crimes of the Zionist entity against Tunisia amount to more than a hidden camera," Al-Gharbi told Quds Press. "They are facts on the ground, especially with regard to the events of Hammam Chott [bombed by Israel in 1985], the murder of [the PLO's] Abu Jihad and the assassination of Engineer Mohamed Zouari."
However, Ahmed Al-Kahlawi, the head of the National Association to support Arab resistance in Palestine and Iraq, said that regardless of the source of the programme it lets Tunisians know about Israel's recruitment of public figures to serve its objectives… "even if the style of the programme needs to be discussed." Al-Kahlawi told Quds Press that the Tunisian media is under the influence of the pro-Israel media and the advertising companies" associated with it. "Many media professionals may have fallen under the influence of these foreign companies, so Tunisia's national security forces must put an end to this Zionist intervention which we see in tourism, culture and even security itself."
This was particularly evident, he added, when the Tunisian aviation engineer Mohamed Zouari was assassinated in front of his house in December 2016, and Israel's Channel 10 had a reporter breaking the story from in front of Zouari's house. "This was in addition to the broadcast of a later report from in front of the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior."
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) accused Israel of assassinating Zouari, who was a member of Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the movement.
Al-Kahlawi pointed out that the Tunisian government is also "involved in normalisation" through what are called "pilgrimages" to the Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba. "They appear to be religious, but are, in fact, a Zionist breakthrough."
Israel's Channel TV7 was wandering around the country, and then reported the statements of the Mufti of Tunisia, Othman Battikh, about the International Symposium on Dialogue among Religions and Civilisations, which was recently organized in Djerba. "The Mufti of Tunisia would not do this without the permission of the government," he insisted, "especially since the Zionist rabbis, whose hands are stained with the blood of Tunisians, Palestinians and Arabs, and who toured Tunisia, would not have entered the country without receiving official invitations from ministries in the Tunisian government."