Several dozen journalists demonstrated on Thursday 16 February in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, to denounce the intimidation they face from the central government. This protest comes a few days after the arrest of the director of the local private radio Mosaïque FM, a station with a large audience in Tunisia.
This protest comes a few days after the arrest of the director of the local private radio Mosaïque FM, a station with a large audience in Tunisia The demonstrators, gathered at “Place de la Kasbah” near the seat of the presidency of the government in Tunis, chanted slogans such as “Free media, independent press”, “We are journalists, not terrorists”, “No to repression against journalists”,… reported Anadolu Agency.
Some also muzzled their mouths with red tape, hinting at the government’s desire to silence the media. And others held up banners that read: “No to the restriction of press freedom”, “No to the muzzling of the media”.
“We demand the continuity and independence of media institutions. We will continue to defend this cause and we say so without ambiguity,” said Snjt President Mahdi Jlassi during the event. According to him, “the arrest of the head of the private radio station “Mosaïque FM”, Noureddine Boutar, is linked to the objective and independent content of the programs broadcast by this media”.
The editor-in-chief of Mosaïque FM, Houssine Dabbabi, added: “Our director’s case is empty, unfounded and illegal. As a Tunisian journalist, I am afraid of losing my freedom of expression. This is the only gain of the 2011 revolution.”
On Monday 13 February, Noureddine Boutar, director of Mosaïque FM, the country’s most listened-to radio station, was arrested as part of a wave of arrests affecting several personalities. Mosaïque FM broadcasts live programs that deal with the social, political and economic situation in Tunisia in a free and sometimes critical tone.
According to the 2022 ranking of the NGO Reporters Without Borders, Tunisia was ranked 94th, whereas in the previous ranking, the country was 73rd out of 180 countries. Selon les experts, cette chute est une répercussion des mesures politiques exceptionnelles prises par le président Kaïs Saïed depuis son accession à la tête de l’Etat le 25 juillet 2021.