21 January 2013 6:17 pm | | 10


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Shot from Envoyé Spécial’s recent reportage on Tunisia (Photo credit: Liberation)

The recent video reportage of Envoyé Spécial, broadcast on French TV channel France 2 on January 17 and entitled “Tunisia, under Salafist Threat,” has stirred discontent among Tunisian internet users, civil society representatives, and media figures.

The episode featured a series of incidents accusing Salafis of presenting a threat to the country’s tourism and stability. The show and journalist behind it, Karim Baila, were criticized for showcasing an exaggerated and falsified image of post-revolutionary Tunisia.

@lucas_roxo: “If you could stop making Salafists believe that they have gained territory” - liberation.fr/monde/2013/01/…” #Envoyéspécial #Tunisie #France2

@TMorofil: I suggest that they rename the #EnvoyéSpécial to [Spatial Envoyé] as it presents a reality coming from another planet…

The video shared on Envoyé Spécial ‘s official Facebook page has received around 2,000 comments and been shared nearly 800 times.

Prominent human rights activist and owner of Radio Kalima Sihem Ben Sedrine stated on her radio that “the image presented of Tunisia is a dark one that does not reflect its reality… The reportage made Tunisia look like a terrorist state, which is not the case.”

President of Islamic proselytizing association “Dawn of Islam,” Taieb Bel Haj Hamida, told Tunisia Live that he is to sue both the journalist and the TV channel for broadcasting that reportage. “I’ve been working on the file, preparing documents with my lawyers, and we will file a complaint tomorrow against the journalist and France 2… We demand indemnity… And maybe the reporter should not be allowed here again,” he added.

Bel Haj Hamida claimed that his team has managed to provide enough evidence that lists the factual inaccuracies in the reporting. The defamation is not related only to the association, but the reputation of the whole country, he argued.

Additionally, several French news outlets criticized the reportage by Envoyé Spécial, such as Liberation, Slate Afrique, and Mediapart.

In the light of concerns raised around security of French citizens in Tunisia, more preventive security measures were taken around the French embassy in Tunis. However, information officer at the embassy, Etienne Chapon, denied that the security measures are related to the row over the Envoyé Spécial reportage. “These measures were taken by the Tunisian authorities, following France’s intervention in Mali… They have nothing to do with the France 2 show,” he confirmed.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Alibaba says:

    I love tunisia, i fell in love and got married, tunis is so cool! I am a born again christian, and i love all the muslim people,

    But islam is slavery! to a false God! and calls God a liar! when they deny that God has a son!

    Islam wants the blood of it’s children, When God gave the blood of his son jesus

    the arab spring, was started when a man’s blood activated demon spirits to lie to the people about social freedom,

    the when the hidden agenda was for satan to use the salafist,

    But um praying that what started in tunis, doesn’t happen in tunis like it did with egypt where muslims are raping the christians, same in iraq, same in syria,

    peace only comes through jesus

  2. pauli says:

    I am a tourist, and just returned from 3 weeks in Tunisia , and found it rather depressing, hotels without guests, service workers without manners, and despite the fact that I speak classical arabic, a reaction of “HOLIER THAN THOU” from born again moslems, all in all despite my love of many tunisian poeple , I am searching the web for alternative places to go, this is just one tourist , and luckily most tourists live in a fake tunisia and will not notice a thing, so life will go on , insh allah.

    • Mark says:

      so you think most tourists wont notice poor service…. why is that cos they may not speak arabic. What a arrogant attitude you have ….kind of like you expect something different cos you speak classical arabic almost as if you put your self in a different place than the tunisians who speak with a lingo franco dialogue…

      Go find somewhere else to go for your holiday because it the those ‘tourists’ who wont notice anything that will continue to help and support the Tunisian people.

      The Salifast do not bring good things to Tunisia however that is up to the people of Tunisia to recognize and along with the government address the problems before they are out of hand. I know what I would like to happen but I only live there part of the year.

      • Skander says:

        He said he hoped that most tourists won’t notice it because they are in “fake” Tunisia, I guess in he’s talking about hotels in Hammamet and Djerba and not those in Sousse and Tunis. He’s saying that he is one person and that is what he felt and hoped that his experience is not shared by the other tourists.I don’t see how he was being arrogant.

  3. Riyadh says:

    Tunisia is peaceful nation and the salafist show respect to the low of the land by calling for dialogue and respect instead of violence , i’am Tunisian and I truly fear the far left ( rcd)more than the far right( salafist) ,Tunisia is not a country of jihad and blood shade , it’s a country of options and dialogue and the number of tourists that visited Tunisia in 2012 ( 6 millions) that’s half of the Tunisian population is a better prof that contradict the French media who were still angry at the Tunisian goverment for switching their business toward Turkey instead of Paris .
    Fuck the French and long live Tunisia

    • Skander says:

      “Salafists show respect to the law of the land by calling for dialogue and respect instead of violence”. Either you’re a hypocrite or the dumbest person who ever used the internet. Salafists are extremely violent in nature, that is the main principle tenant of Islamic extremism, to be ready to “fight for Islam”. Meaning using violence to get their way.

  4. Skander says:

    Tunisians are cowards that is why the salafists are going to win in the end in Tunisia. Salafists are followers of the true followers of Islam and all it’s raw madness, but most Tunisians have been brainwashed to believe in Islam, but be modern and tolerant at the same time. This contradictory thought creates a country of people putting their heads in the sand. Evidently, there are a lot of salafists in Tunisia, and unfortunately they do not need much to wreck havoc on the country. A few blown up hotels, one blown up plane, massive riots ever once a while is all it takes to send the country to an economic depression. A terrorist attack in Tunisia like that happened in Algeria this week would completely destroy our economy. The only way to fight this extremism is destroy it’s source of evil, the belief that the Quran came from God. Only when Tunisians accept the truth about reality and fight the evil religion created by a pedophile, the Salafists will win. The belief that a God would send a prophet with no proof (or very weak proof) and then God will burn people who don’t believe in him after they die for eternity is not only very sick, but completely insane.

  5. Tayeb says:

    The documentary touched a raw nerve with Tunisians who can’t admit that there are many people in Tunisia who follow this crazy ideology. Extreme right wing ideology can appear and gain a large following in any country, especially during a depression. Whether it’s Europe post depression in the 1930′s, Tunisia or Greece now. Envoye Special is a news magazine, so it has to be entertaining and informative, it’s not bound by the same journalistic criteria as a news report, but the report was accurate and I did not see anything in the report that was a fabrication. There was an emphasis on the salafist movement and it rise in Tunisia, which is what the title promised.

    The last events in the past couple of weeks confirm the violent rise of the Salafists and the dangers they pose to the country and its survival: the tragic events in In Amenas in Algeria where 11 of the 32 bandits were Tunisians, the discoveries of large caches of weapons, the burning of Sufi zawias, etc. The dangers are real and Tunisians who are in denial will wake up one day and find that their country has been taken from them and has been transformed into a salafist hell.

  6. Francine d'Arrogante says:

    Everytime a group of people lose their privileges in a society, they will launch a reaction, a counterrevolution. This has happened over and over again during the course of human history.

    Tunisia is no exception. The corrupt people who were fed by the former dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, and who were protected and welcomed by France, are now the architects behind the Tunisian counterrevolution.

    Their weapon of choice is massive propaganda and islamophobia.
    Their aim is to sabotage tourism and foreign investment.
    Their choice of battlefield is the french media.

    Tunisia should boycott France once and for all, on every level. English should replace french in terms of importance in politics and education, and tourism campaigns should be canceled in France.

    Why try to be loved by someone who doesn’t love you?

    Good bye, France!

    (And oh, btw, good luck with your own economy)

  7. Mark says:

    I must have missed something….so are we to believe that the Salifasts have become poster people for Tunisia now. However Tunisia is reported is up to any one persons experience or interpretations of how they perceive events in that country. In my own opinion the Salifast movement is not a good way for tunisia to go…however tunisia claims to be democratic so they (Salifsts) have to be given space……sadly

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