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Journalist assaulted while covering hospital protest

(OLPEC/IFEX) - Tunis, 12 December 2009 - Journalist Moez Jemai, a correspondent for Radio Kalima in Gabès, was violently assaulted today by a security guard at Gabès regional hospital while he was covering a sit-in organized by hospital workers. The guard is also a member of the ruling Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique (RCD) party.

Jemai claims he saw a political police officer who was at the hospital at the time motion to the guard to approach him. The guard then asked the Jemai what he was doing there; when he showed the guard his press card, the guard jumped him and began hitting him and verbally attacking him, accusing him of being a member of the opposition press. Jemai tried to stop the attack but the guard continued hitting him and insulting him. He finally grabbed Jemai's camera and smashed it on the floor under the approving gaze of the police officer, who was filming the scene.

OLPEC:
- condemns this cowardly attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job;
- holds the authorities entirely responsible for the attack and demands that both the perpetrator and the instigator be punished;
- deplores the shameful state of press freedom in Tunisia today;
- expresses its solidarity with Moez Jemai and calls on civil society to do the same.

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