FAJ Backs Mobilization by SNJT to Free Journalists in Tunisia

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)

has today commended the release from prison of journalist Zied El-Heni after

payment of the bail of 2000 Dinar (1200 USD) by the syndicate.



support the mobilization of our affiliate the Syndicat National des

Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT) to free our colleague Zied El-Heni, and the general

strike scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday 17th September in protest against the imprisonment

and harassment meted to journalists and reporters by the authorities in Tunisia”

said Mohamed Garba, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ).

According to reports, El Heni was summoned last Friday before an investigative

judge of the Tunis Tribunal and was accused of defaming a public official. The warrant

was related to his criticism of a public prosecutor for wrongly indicting

cameraman Mourad Meherzi for filming an incident in which an egg was thrown at

culture minister Mehdi Mabrouk. El Heni was jailed instantly on Friday and was released

today on bail.

The general strike that was called jointly by the SNJT and the Syndicate of

Culture and Information (affiliated to UGTT, trade union centre) has been

maintained for tomorrow and the two unions have urged their members to observe the


"We commend the SNJT for their determination and call on all the FAJ affiliates

to support the SNJT and the media in Tunisia in their struggle for more freedom

expression in the country. We call on the authorities in Tunisia to decimalize

libel and to uphold the international standards on freedom of expression,"

said Garba.

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FAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa