REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

IFJ backs journalists' strike against violence and press gag

(IFJ/IFEX) - 12 January 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today supported the decision to take strike action by members of the Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens (SNJT), an IFJ affiliate, in protest over the attempts to censor media coverage of month-long riots over corruption and unemployment which have claimed at least 21 lives so far.

"Journalists in Tunisia are right to show solidarity with citizens and to oppose violent repression of the people's right to express their legitimate concerns," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The Government clampdown on media has failed to silence public protests over corruption and the jobless crisis highlights just how the current regime is out of touch with the realities of its rule."

Tunisian journalists went on strike yesterday 11 January in Tunis to protest over heavy-handed tactics used by security forces to put down anti-government demonstrations across the country. The union office was surrounded by a heavy deployment of police yesterday.

The unrest which has spread to many parts of the country, including Tunis, was triggered by the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed graduate, who set fire to himself on 17 December in the town of Sidi Bouzid, south east of the capital Tunis. His desperate action came after the authorities stopped him from selling vegetables without a licence. Media reports say the police fired live ammunition on protesters.

The IFJ says the current unrest shows the government's attempts to intimidate media from reporting on the public resentment of the corruption and greed of the ruling political elite in the country have failed.

The Federation has launched a campaign for the release of journalist Fahem Boukadous, a correspondent for the satellite channel Tunisian Dialogue who is serving a four-year jail term following his conviction for reporting on public demonstrations against unemployment and corruption in the mining town of Gafsa in 2008.

In a statement dated 28 December, the SNJT denounced the "ban on journalists and obstructions to their work as well as attacks against some of its members while they were doing their job".

"The regime's image of a moderate and progressive government is a sham that has been exposed by the courageous action of journalists," added White. "We support our colleagues in their demand for respect of human rights and we call on the authorities to release Fahem and all his colleagues in detention."

Latest Tweet:

En #Nicaragua, el control que Ortega ejerce sobre los medios se reduce a pesar de que recrudece la represión… https://t.co/sepcWMKhlZ

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.

CLOSE