IFJ Condemns Government over Attack on Journalist in Tunisia

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the kidnap and assault of Slim

Boukdhir, a freelance journalist and correspondent of Al Arabya newspaper in Tunisia,

who was abducted by unidentified men on Wednesday evening in Tunis. The journalist, who was later dumped near

a park stripped of his clothes by his attackers, sustained serious injuries.

"This is a

shameless attack on a journalist who has shown great courage in denouncing the

repressive regime in Tunisia,"

said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is part of a shocking campaign

targeting independent journalists and opponents of the government."

According to

reports, Slim was attacked by four men, believed to be state security agents,

shortly after his interview on the BBC World Service in which he was critical

of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's victory in  last Sunday presidential elections.

The IFJ accuses

President Ben Ali of exposing independent journalists to mob violence following

his statements after the poll, accusing Slim and what he described as a "tiny

minority" of Tunisians of treason for working with foreign media organisations.

"The President's

comments bear grave consequences for the country's democracy and independent media,"

added White. "They put journalists' safety at serious risk and intimidate

alternative voice on the nation's affairs."

The Syndicat

National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT), an IFJ affiliate has been subjected

to a government-inspired campaign of destabilisation after the leadership issued

a press freedom report critical of the government in May and refused to endorse

sitting President Ben Ali during the recent national elections.

For more information

contact the IFJ at

  +32 2 235 2207       

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide