October 29, 2008
IFJ Says Attacks on Tunisian Web Sites and Newspapers "Casting a Chill" over Media
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the recent interference into Tunisian media that has led to repeated attacks on independent print and online publications.
"These attacks on Tunisian media that are critical of the government have been mounting in recent weeks, casting a chill over the media," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The government must stop its harassment of media and ensure that no one else is acting on its behalf to silence independent or opposition voices."
On October 22 the Tunisian Ministry of Interior seized the weekly newspaper Mouwatinoun's current issue and suspended the right of its owner the Democratic Forum for Freedom and Work (FDLT), a legal opposition party, from distributing. The shut-down came after Neziha Rejiba, editor of the online magazine Kalima, wrote in Mouwatinoun about the destruction of Kalima and accused Tunisian authorities of being behind the attack.
Rejiba was summoned to appear before a public prosecutor on October 27.
Multiple news sites have been shut down or disabled by hackers. Besides Kalima, www.kalimatunisie.com, these sites include the IFJ's own site, www.ifj.org, which has been unavailable in Tunisia as well as journalist Zied El Heni's blog, http://journaliste-tunisien.blogspot.com. El Heni is also a board member of the IFJ affiliate, the Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT).
The IFJ is supporting the SNJT in its protests against the web and newspaper closures and its efforts to defend of Tunisian journalists' rights and press freedom.
The IFJ has also joined with other press groups in the Tunisian Monitoring Group to protest the hacking and destruction of Kalima website on October 14 and the harassment of Kalima, CNLT and OLPEC representatives and has called on Frank La Rue, the new UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, requesting he monitor the situation and visit Tunisia.
"The systematic repression of Tunisian journalists by the government has continued unchecked and without comment from the international community.This must change," White said.
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide