International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its dismay at the
six year jail sentence for Fahem Boukadous, a reporter for the satellite TV El
Hiwar station, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Gafsa, Southern
Tunisia. Boudadous had been convicted of membership of a criminal
group following his coverage of demonstrations held in Gafsa last year.
is an appalling miscarriage of justice against a journalist who was only doing
his job covering the demonstration," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
"Our colleague should never have been put on trial in the first place as there
has been no evidence to suggest he took part in these demonstrations. The
authorities are seeking to silence their critics by cracking down on any
coverage of anti-government activity using all means including sham trials."
According to media reports, the Court of Appeal last week confirmed the six
year jail term handed to Fahem Boukadous and 37 other people on 11 December
2008 for "forming a criminal association liable to attack persons and their
charges against them followed a demonstration in a mining area in Gafsa which
Fahem had covered for TV El Hiwar. He has since been living in hiding and was
convicted in absentia.
IFJ is further concerned about the safety of Ayman Arrezki, a journalist with
El Hiwar Al Tounoussi TV who was arrested on Saturday at the headquarters of
Attajdid, an opposition party in Tunisia. He had been covering a
seminar for his station which broadcasts by satellite from Italy.
IFJ last week condemned a number of press freedom violations in Tunisia,
including the arrest of Dhafer Otay, editor of Karima radio station by the
security forces who had also laid siege to the station as well as the seizure
of issue no 113 of Attariq Aljadid newspaper.
is clearly a government-driven campaign of harassment against journalists and
media in Tunisia,"
added White. "We commend our colleague's determination not to be intimidated
and hold the authorities responsible for the safety of our colleagues."
For more information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide