Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tunisia: 57 lawmakers demand amending law used to detain journalists 

May 30, 2024 at 12:55 pm

A view from the Assembly of the Representatives by the People (Tunisian Parliament) during a session in Tunis, Tunisia on November 02, 2023 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu via Getty Images]

Fifty-seven Tunisian parliamentarians yesterday submitted a request to the Parliament’s Bureau to expedite consideration of a legislative initiative related to the revision of Decree 54 on combating crimes related to information and communication systems, Anadolu reported.

“The 57 MPs submitted their request at the Registry of the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) on Wednesday and it is up to the Bureau to refer our legislative initiative to the Committee on Rights and Freedoms, as required by internal law, in particular Article 123,” MP Mohamed Ali of the Sovereign National Line Bloc, rapporteur of the Committee on Rights and Freedoms and one of the signatories of the request for urgent consideration said.

He highlighted that 40 MPs had submitted a legislative initiative to amend this decree on 20 February but had not received a “written response from the Bureau of the Parliament, despite the fact that the request was brought to its attention on more than one occasion.”

The request to amend the law submitted by parliamentarians includes several articles in Decree 54, most notably Article 24, according to the parliamentarian,

“which is the chapter that poses a real problem and is the main subject of the revision, given its harsh provisions and its use to restrict freedom of expression,” Ali explained.

Article 24 stipulates the penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 dinars (about $16,000) for anyone who intentionally uses information and communication networks and systems to produce, promote, publish, send, or prepare false news, data, or rumours or documents that are fabricated, forged, or falsely attributed to others with the aim of attacking the rights of others, harming public security or national defence, or spreading terror among the population.

Tunisia: journalists condemn prosecution of media professionals