Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the four year jail term handed
down to Tunisian journalist Fahem Boukadous on 13 January by a court for his
reporting on the demonstrations against unemployment and corruption in the
mining town of Gafsa in 2008.
"We condemn the sham trial which makes an
innocent journalist a scapegoat for the government's failings, ‘" said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary." His sentence
fits in with the regime's ongoing repression of media in Tunisia."
a reporter for the satellite TV El Hiwar station was accused of "forming a
criminal association liable to attack persons" following his reports on the
protests in Gafsa by some Tunisian unions members to denounce rampant
corruption and rising unemployment. He went in hiding but was put on trial in
absentia along with 37 other people on the same charges and was sentenced to
six years in prison in December 2008. The sentence was upheld by an appeal
court in February 2009.
National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT), an IFJ affiliate, says that Fahem
turned himself in to the authorities last November and was arrested. His co
-accused were freed earlier in the same month by presidential pardon.
The IFJ calls on
the European Parliament, which held a public hearing on Wednesday in Strasbourg on the human rights situation in Tunisia, to pay
particular attention to press freedom violations by the regime which has
declared war on journalists who refuse to give in to political interference. Two
other journalists, Ben Brik and Zouhaïer Makhlouf were jailed last year for
their outspoken criticism of President Ben Ali's rule.
standards of the authorities in this case lay bare the Government's intention
to suppress independent reporting," added White. "Even the presidential pardon was deliberately selective so as not to benefit
a journalist who was not even involved in the protests. Europe
must take a stand against these relentless attacks on media."
For more information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide