Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
February, 19th 2010
FAJ condemns the systematic policy of repression against independent journalism in Tunisia
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) the African organization of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) once again condemned the policy of the Tunisian authorities in systematically repressing the independent journalists.
FAJ demands immediate and unconditional release of Tawfiq Ben Brik independent journalist and Fahem Boukaddous, correspondent of the satellite channel “Dialogue Tunisien”.
“What happens in Tunisia is contrary to the basic principles of democracy, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression,” declared Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President. “For a long time now, we have been observing organized actions to muzzle all the journalists who want to work in a free and independent way. It is time to put an end to the grave violations of press freedom and human rights in Tunisia”.
In August 2009, Tawfiq Ben Brik, known for his critical papers against the Tunisian government was imprisoned illegally and sentenced to 6 months in jail, which was highly criticized by his defense team and some human rights organizations. He is currently under very horrible conditions and the prison authorities have refused visits from his lawyers even after been given legal authorizations of the court. Its health condition is in alarming situation.
Fahem Boukaddous, correspondent of the satellite channel "Dialogue Tunisien" was sentenced to a 4 years jail term for “establishment of a criminal association likely to attack the people and their properties” only to have covered and relayed the movement of Al-Hiwar Attounsi Channel. He took an appeal which will be heard on February 23, 2010.
According to the observers, these judgments were sullied by atrocious irregularities which reflect the lack of independence of the judicial authorities.
A Tunisian court is scheduled to make ruling on the legality of August 15, 2009 Extraordinary Congress of National Union of Tunisian Journalists on March 1st.
FAJ calls on the Tunisian authorities to put an end to any interference in SNJT’s internal affairs and proposes its mediation and supervision of an all-inclusive congress of the national union for more serenity and unity in their relationships with the media so that press freedom and freedom of expression become a reality in this country.
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The FAJ represents over 50,000 journalists in 36 countries in Africa