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Tunisia: Journalists protest to demand settlement 

May 21, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Tunisian journalists hold signs during a protest demanding press freedom outside the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) in Tunis [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Dozens of Tunisian journalists working in media institutions confiscated by the state participated on Friday in a protest to demand a settlement for their financial and professional conditions.

An Anadolu Agency reporter disclosed that the protest took place at Kasbah Square, Tunis, at the invitation of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists and the General Media University of the Tunisian General Labour Union.

According to the invitation, the protest was organised to object to: “The continued policy of marginalising the media sector by the authority and to settle the confiscated institutions.”

The protesters raised slogans such as “for how long will we remain without a salary”, “O government, shame on you, the press is deteriorating”, “O President of the Republic, the press is not a privilege” and “Give me my rights”.

In his speech during the protest, President of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists Mohamed Yassine Jelassi expressed: “This is another phase that we are fighting through with each other for our rights, freedoms and to defend our colleagues.”

In a statement to Anadolu Agency on the margins of the protest, Jelassi stated: “The authority succeeded in one thing, which is to lower Tunisia’s ranking in press freedom, and to return us to ancient times.”

“I am sending a message to the government and the presidency; we do not get tired or get bored of defending the rights of our colleagues,” Jelassi asserted.

READ: Tunisia increasing ‘violations’ against journalists

He continued: “They want to punish the press sector because it did not engage in adulation and because journalists report daily the difficulties that this country suffers from. So, we hold them responsible for destroying these institutions.”

The confiscated media institutions were owned by members and relatives of the president of the former regime, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. These institutions were confiscated by the state along with the rest of their property. Until now, the successive governments have failed to settle or grant them to the private sector.

In early May, Reporters Without Borders announced that Tunisia had dropped in the Press Freedom Index by 21 points, now ranking in place 94 after being ranked 73 in 2021.