11 April 2012
IFJ backs red-armband campaign after Tunisian journalists attacked
The IFJ has strongly condemned the Tunisian government following the physical assault of at least 14 journalists in two separate incidents this week.
The news comes on the eve of a campaign day (Thursday 12 April), organised by the Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens, when journalists are being asked to wear red armbands to symbolise their opposition to attempts to crack down on journalists' rights.
The latest attacks occurred in Sfax on Sunday 8 April and Tunis on Monday 9 April during demonstrations against the policies of the Al-Nahda dominated government, including a recent ban on protests in the capital.
Both demonstrators and journalists covering the protests, which were organised around Tunisia's Martyr's Day, were beaten by security forces and, according to witness reports, by ‘Al-Nahda affiliated militia'.
‘It is outrageous that Tunisia's people should be subjected to such violence, which is clearly intended to stop critical voices from being heard,' said IFJ president Jim Boumelha. ‘The authorities should immediately open a public investigation into the attacks to bring the guilty to justice.'
Security forces used batons and tear gas to disperse protesters, human rights activists and journalists who were covering the demonstration. The Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens (SNJT), an IFJ affiliate, strongly condemned the violence, in which it says at least 14 journalists have been beaten. The SNJT's board said such repressive attacks were a clear indicator of the return of brutal practices seeking to undermine freedom of speech, to deprive people from their right to information and to prevent journalists from doing their jobs.
The IFJ has given its support to the SNJT's campaign to fight back and protect the gains of the revolution. The IFJ and the SNJT are jointly calling on all journalists in Tunisia to carry the red armband in their media houses on Thursday 12 April. They have also called on all media and journalists' organisations in Tunisia and beyond to express their opposition to these attacks on media freedom and to express solidarity with the Tunisian people and media community.
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 05
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries