IFJ backs red-armband campaign after Tunisian journalists attacked

The IFJ has strongly condemned the Tunisian government

following the physical assault of at least 14 journalists in two separate

incidents this week.

The news comes on the eve of a campaign day (Thursday 12

April), organised by the Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens, when journalists

are being asked to wear red armbands to symbolise their opposition to attempts

to crack down on journalists' rights.

The latest attacks occurred in Sfax on Sunday 8 April and

Tunis on Monday 9 April during demonstrations against the policies of the Al-Nahda

dominated government, including a recent ban on protests in the capital.

Both demonstrators and journalists covering the protests,

which were organised around Tunisia's Martyr's Day, were beaten by security

forces and, according to witness reports, by ‘Al-Nahda affiliated militia'.

‘It is outrageous that Tunisia's people should be subjected

to such violence, which is clearly intended to stop critical voices from being

heard,' said IFJ president Jim Boumelha. ‘The authorities should immediately

open a public investigation into the attacks to bring the guilty to justice.'

Security forces used batons and tear gas to

disperse protesters, human rights activists and journalists who were covering

the demonstration. The Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT), an IFJ

affiliate, strongly condemned the violence, in which it says at least 14

journalists have been beaten. The SNJT's board said such repressive attacks were a clear indicator of the

return of brutal practices seeking to undermine freedom of speech, to deprive people from their

right to information and to prevent journalists from doing their jobs.

The IFJ has given

its support to the SNJT's campaign to fight back and protect the gains of the

revolution. The IFJ and the SNJT are jointly calling on all journalists in

Tunisia to carry the red armband in their media houses on Thursday 12 April.

They have also called on all media and journalists' organisations in Tunisia

and beyond to express their opposition to these attacks on media freedom and to

express solidarity with the Tunisian people and media community.


For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 05
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries