FAJ Backs Journalists’ Demand for Editorial Freedom in Tunisia

The Federation of African

Journalists (FAJ) joins  the International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in expressing solidarity to the journalists and

other workers of Dar Assabah, the Tunisian media group,  who went on

strike demanding editorial freedom at its three publications, namely the Arabic

daily Assabah, the French daily Le Temps and the Arabic weekly Al-Assabah

Ousbouî.


According to the National Union of Tunisian

Journalists (SNJT in french), a FAJ affiliate, journalists and staff of the

media house are demanding the departure of Lotfi Touati, recently appointed

Chief Executive Officer of Dar Assabah.

Mr. Touati, who served as

a police commissioner and chief editor of the French daily Le Qotidien, was a

strong supporter of the policy of former President Ben Ali. His appointment was

seen as an attempt by the new government to maintain control over Dar Assabah

which was known for its independence under the leadership of its founder Habib

Cheokhrouhou.

 The media house was subsequently taken over by

Ben Ali’s family after its acquisition by Sakhr Al-Materi, son-in-law of the

former President.
 
Media workers of Dar Assabah also ask that

arrears to the media house be converted into shares of  its capital and that they have the priority to

purchase the shares held by the state, following seizure of assets belonging to

Ben Ali’s family.
 
“The reputation of a media organization is based

on its editorial integrity and independence. We support the rightful demand of

journalists and media workers of Dar Assabah because it is the only way to

guarantee their freedom of conscience and independent practice of public

service journalism,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.  “The readers

of the three newspapers must be able to trust the Dar Assabah and be confident

that its editorial decisions are not influenced by outside interests, whether

political or personal”, he added.

 

For more information, please contact

IFJ on +221- 33 867 95 87

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists

in 134 countries