The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced on 4 May 2014 the physical and verbal assault on Tunisian journalists by members of the organising committee of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) at a protest organised on 1 May in honour of Labour Day.
In advance of the protest, a number of Tunisian journalists were prevented from obtaining permits from the UGTT's Secretary-General Hussein Abbas to cover the event. Once demonstrators reached Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the capital, members of the organising committee began to physically and verbally assault the journalists present in spite of the objections of the secretary-general's and the UGTT's media representative, Ghassan Al-Gosaibi.
Twelve journalists reported being beaten by members of the committee:
- FM radio journalist Mahmoud Al-Hagri
- FM radio journalist Shams Al-Zaidy, who happens to be pregnant and received blows to her abdomen
- Mosaic FM radio journalist Hossam Bouhla
- Mosaic FM radio journalist Al-Habib Wazan
- Al-Ahad TV camerman Sufian Mtaiba
- Tunisia News Network journalist Ziad Abour
- Al-Mutawaset TV journalist Al-Hadi Haji
- Gawhara FM radio journalist Siham Ammar
- Al-Tunisiya newspaper journalist Nageh Bin Gedo
- Tunisie Tribune website journalist Abdel Aziz Aziz
- Al-Jazeera journalist Hafez Morbeh
- Al-Jazeera cameraman Mohamed Ameen bin Nejma
- Al-Shourouk photographer Wagdi Al-Teriki
- Al-Hiwar Al-Tunisi TV camerman Mohamed Al-Gharbi
- Iza'at Al Shabab public radion journalist Tibir Al-Naimi
Members of the organising committee also verbally assaulted 15 other journalists. Their names are listed below:
- Al-Ahad Iraqi TV channel journalist Rasheed Garray
- Al-Sabah newspaper journalist Reem Swodi
- Al-Tunisia private TV journalist Ahlam Al-Abdly along with the channel's photographer
- Nesma TV journalist Hosam Al-Mashy and his accompanied photographer Sami Azizi
- Tunisia News Network journalist Anees Al-Deghari
- Al-Mutawaset journalist Abdel Salam Farahat
- IFM radio journalist Fayza Al-Arafawy
- Tanit Press website journalist Heba Hemedi
- Al-Hiwar Al-Tunisi journalists Saida Al-Tarabolsi and Montasr Aswdi
- Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) journalist Adel Al-Rebahi
- Tonisna private TV channel journalist Abeer Morgan
- France 24 cameraman Seif Al-Khalify
"Collective assaults committed against journalists during their coverage of UGTT's march are an indicator of the mounting violations committed against journalists in recent times," said ANHRI. "All parties are involved in such violations, including the Tunisian security forces as well as citizens. Moreover, the march's assaults refer to the government's negligence to provide the necessary protection for journalists on the job. Such a matter threatens the steps that the government started to take on the path of democratic transition after the fall of Ben Ali's regime."
ANHRI calls upon Tunisian authorities to provide the necessary protection for journalists while practicing their work, in order to help them convey the complete truth without being subjected to pressure or attacks that could impede them from carrying out their work. ANHRI calls for an urgent investigation into the collective assaults on journalists on 1 May. It also calls for accordingly punishing the perpetrators of these assaults so as to guarantee that they will not be repeated again.