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Tunisian journalists attacked by both citizens and political groups

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has decried the ongoing violations committed against journalists and media professionals in Tunisia by both citizens and political groups.

On 2 April 2014, individuals belonging to the Tunisian Ennahda movement attacked members of the Nesma TV crew leaving a cameraman wounded in the shoulder. On 6 April, reporters attending a football match between the EGS Gafsa and Stade Gabésien teams were prevented from covering the match by EGS Gafsa's fans, security forces present did nothing to stop them.

The Nesma TV crew was attacked when covering the latest events in the wake of the burning of the Tunisian Ben Ghardan labour union's headquarters. Tariq Al Khadrawi, the crew coordinator, Walid bin Naseeb, a photojournalist, and Amin Alberni, the cameraman whose shoulder was injured, had all been assaulted by individuals identifying with the Ennahda movement. They were then rescued by friends who interfered.

The journalists attending the football match at the Gafsa Olympic Stadium four days later were prevented from covering the event by the EGS Gafsa fans who were protesting media coverage of the Tunisian National Football League's refusal to accept the EGS Gafsa team's petition regarding the illegal participation of one of Stade Gabésien's players in a previous match.

Security bodies on the ground at the football match took no action and failed to protect the media professionals, leading the journalists to announce their boycott of the match. The news they aired that day was of the fact that they were prevented from covering the event.

"Violations committed against media professionals in Tunisia strongly threatens the country's path to democracy, a path in which Tunisia has taken steps forward, after the overthrow of Ben Ali, compared to other Arab Spring countries," said ANHRI. "Such violations represent a strong indication of the possibility of returning to a time when journalists and media professionals were targeted continuously, especially since security forces did not intervene to stop such harassment from ocurring."

ANHRI calls on citizens and political groups to halt their crackdown on journalists and media professionals, as well as attempts to preclude them from carrying out their work. The network also demands that they respect freedom of expression as a basic right for all parties regardless of their ideas and attitudes. Moreover, ANHRI urges security forces to abandon their silence over the violations committed against media professionals, and to intervene in order to stop these abusive practices in their tracks.

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