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Tunisia: journalists condemn prosecution of media professionals

May 24, 2024 at 11:25 am

Tunisian National Union of Journalists (SNJT) members organise a demonstration in observance of ‘World Press Freedom Day’ in Tunis, Tunisia on 3 May, 2024 [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

The National Syndicate of Journalists in Tunisia condemned on Thursday the criminalisation of freedom of expression in the digital space and the prosecution of journalists and media professionals against the backdrop of media content critical of public policies in the North African state. The syndicate made its comment a day after journalists Burhan Bseis and Murad Al-Zughidi were each sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “publishing incorrect news”.

The union said that the ruling continues the state policy of abusing freedom of expression, criminalising journalism and violating the country’s national laws and international pledges not to imprison journalists. It warned of the danger of continuing what it called the “deviation” witnessed in the judicial treatment of press freedom issues over the past year.

This “deviation” will reflect negatively and create a tense public climate that perpetuates unilateral discourse, and damages pluralism and independence in the media, said the syndicate. It also strikes at the constitutional principles that enshrine rights and freedoms, and prevents the judiciary from playing its role in protecting them.

Affirming its absolute support for the two journalists, the national syndicate stressed its readiness to engage in all legitimate struggles to defend freedom of opinion, expression and the media.

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