Tunisia Approves Decrees Protecting Media After Mass Protests
Tunisia’s government issued two decrees aimed at ensuring the freedom of the press, after a mass strike by journalists who complained about perceived efforts to restrict freedoms in the country after last year’s uprising.
The strike yesterday organized by the Journalists’ Syndicate and involving about 1,200 people was the first ever by the press in the country. The protest reflects concerns by the media about a crackdown on freedoms after Islamists rose to power in a nation once seen as among the most secular in the Arab world.
The government, which is headed by the Islamist Ennahda movement, issued the decrees late yesterday after the strike had ended, ceding one of the demands of the media. The protest led to the failure of most newspapers to publish today.
While the decrees were first issued last November, the ruling troika of Ennahda, Ettakatol and Congress for the Republic did not ratify them at the time. One decree guarantees the freedom of the media. The other, while also regulating the broadcast sector, is aimed at limiting direct oversight of content by government officials.
Several newspaper reporters, editors and managers have faced threats or court cases over articles they published. In February, Attunissia’s director general, Nassredine Ben Saida, was jailed after the paper published a photo of a famous Tunisian soccer player posing with a nude model. He was released a month later, amid an outcry by rights groups, after paying a fine.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jihen Laghmari in Tunis via Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
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