Tunisia: Public media workers announce one-day strike over risk to media freedom and editorial independence

Tunisian public media workers will go on strike on April 2 in protest against shrinking press freedoms and attempts by President Kaïs Saied and his government to control public media’s editorial line. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its Tunisian affiliate, the SNJT, in fully supporting the strike and calls on all journalists to stand united amid continuous attempts to limit their rights.

Workers of the four public media organisations in Tunisia, the national TV, national radio, Tunis Africa news agency (TAP) and the publishing house La Presse will take part in the one-day strike in protest against an increasingly difficult situation for the free exercise of their work.

IFJ affiliate SNJT condemned the Tunisian president’s attempts to control state-owned media and the arrest of journalist Khalifa Al-Qasimi for refusing to reveal his sources to authorities. His arrest sparked demonstrations by a large part of the Tunisian media sector.

Tunisia has become an authoritarian state that jails and intimidates journalists,” Mohamed Yassine Jelassi, SNJT President, said to the media.

Other SNJT senior officials referred to Tunisian state TV as a “propaganda trumpet” for the president and denounced an alleged ban on state television hosting opposition figures in political debates.

The SNJT demands include:

  • To appoint directors for the national TV, radio and Tunisian newsagency according to law decree 116 of 2011, which guarantees the independence of the public media from political control.
  • To end the pressure on the editorial line of the national TV and maintain its political independence as a public service media.
  • To put into effect all previously signed agreements with the SNJT covering improvement of journalists' social and professional rights.
  • To put forward an immediate plan to save La Press, which is facing imminent closure.
  • To cancel all disciplinary and retaliatory actions taken by the acting director of the national TV against journalists and union activists, which are direct attacks on the union and the right to unionise.
  • The commitment of the government to allocate sufficient resources that allow these media to continue producing high-quality journalism content that serves the public interest.
  • To publish the text of the Media Framework Agreement in the national journal according to the final ruling of the Tunisian administrative court.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Freedom of speech and media was a key gain for Tunisians after 2011. Today we sadly see these fundamental rights are at serious risk. We stand in solidarity with Tunisian public media workers and fully support their demands for an independent, strong and public service oriented state-owned media in Tunisia”.

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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