Tunisia: Police storms and shuts down Al Jazeera’s offices in Tunis

Police in Tunisia on Monday closed the office of Al Jazeera television in the capital Tunis amid political tensions in the country. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Tunisian affiliate, the Syndicat National des Journalistes tunisiens (SNJT) strongly condemn this blatant attack on freedom of information and urge the Tunisian president to comply with national and international law and respect press freedom.

Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on July 26. Credits: FETHI BELAID / AFP

On 26 July, around 20 Tunisian security agents stormed the headquarters of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera broadcaster in Tunis and forced out the entire staff of seven media workers, before closing the office.

Al-Jazeera media workers reportedly asked for an official judicial warrant to close the media’s office but the security agents, who confiscated the keys of the newsroom, said there was no judicial decision in this regard and that they were just “following orders".


In parallel, Al Jazeera journalists reporting in the field noticed a clear disturbance in their communications, which created  interference with their direct contacts with the newsroom back at the channel.

The SNJT also denounced the incitement against Alarabiya journalists in Tunisia over social media as well as the confiscation of mobile phones  of journalists covering demonstrations around the parliament building and preventing them from working.

The incidents occurred just a day after President Kais Saied’s decision to dismiss the prime minister and suspend Parliament, which sparked a political crisis in Tunisia's fledgling democracy.

The SNJT called on the President of the Republic to take urgent action to ensure freedom of journalists in their  work and to address all “illegal procedures in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

The Journalists Syndicate holds the President of the Republic responsible for protecting press freedom,” the union added.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The authorities in Tunisia must guarantee that all journalists in Tunisia are able to work without intimidation or interruption. The President of Tunis must order his security forces to reopen the offices of Aljazeera immediately and to stop harassing the journalists and the media".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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