IFJ Condemns Arrest of Journalist and Siege of Radio Station in Tunisia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

today condemned the arrest of a private radio's editor by security forces who have

also laid siege to the Tunis-based station.

"The IFJ protests at the arrest of Dhafer Otay and condemned

"the brutal interruption of the normal business at the Kalima radio station,"

Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary said: "This heavy handed police action just

proves the lack of press freedom in Tunisia and the regime's

determination to frustrate independent journalism."

According to the Observatory of Press Freedom,

Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (OLPEC), Otay, coordinator of Kalima, a

private radio broadcasting from Tunis,

was arrested on 27 January as he was returning from a short break by security

forces who detained him all day.

The organization said that, while in custody, Otay

was put under pressure to abandon his work with the radio.  The area where the radio is located has reportedly

been sealed off on Tuesday by police who continue to deny access to the station.



Kalima radio broadcasts on Internet and has

experienced frequent cuts of its internet connection. The arrest of Otay

happened as the radio had started airing its programmes by satellite.

According to media reports, authorities in Tunisia have

deployed over the years a wide range of measures to silence their critics,

including detention, bugging and blocking their internet sites.

"The authorities' action against Kalima is a desperate

act," added White. "They must cease harassing journalists and immediately lift the

siege at the radio station."

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235

2207

The IFJ represent over

600.000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide