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Tunisia groups: Elections authority has become 'media police'

December 28, 2022 at 10:38 am

Tunisian citizens cast their ballots in early general elections at Nahj al-Mahri Primary School polling station in Medenine, Tunisia [Tasnim Nasri – Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian civil organisations have criticised the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) for the severe censorship it imposes on the media and freedom of expression in the country.

Some 28 organisations, including the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) and Soumoud Coalition, issued a statement denouncing “the ISIE’s actions of censorship and playing the role of the police that is a watchdog over public opinion and the media.” The organisations also rejected “the threatening policy that violates the law, and violates the constitution that prohibits any censorship over opinions.”

The organisations criticised “the ISIE’s lack of interest regarding the integrity and transparency of the electoral process and the provision of a proper electoral atmosphere based on freedom. Instead, it devoted all its efforts to tracking people’s opinions, trying to impose censorship, prosecuting opinion-makers and threatening candidates, media and organisations.”

The organisation asserted their solidarity “with all persons who are subject to judicial prosecutions due to their opinions and positions, and expressed their willingness to defend them, and denounced the campaign of harassment and abuse against the member of the ISIE, Sami Ben Salama, because of his performance of his duty and practising his right to free expression.”

They called on all various civil and human rights groups and youth movements to “reject these backward practices, which represent an outdated exclusionary mentality, and to mobilise to fight it.”

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