Journalists in Tunisia are on strike today, protesting multiple recent arrests of media personnel.
The strike was called on Saturday by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.
This followed the Friday arrest of Zied el-Heni, who was detained following comments he made about the case of a cameraman facing charges related to filming the egging of the Minister of Culture in July.
The country’s leading newspapers and news websites, including Tunisia Live, are limiting their coverage to strike-related content. Newspapers have included a black banner on their cover page, and websites will feature the word “strike” on their homepages.
El-Heni had accused a prosecutor of falsifying evidence against Mourad Mehrezi, a cameraman for the Astrolab website. Mehrezi was charged with assaulting an official, public intoxication, defamation, and offending public morals, according to Ayoub Ghedamsi, his lawyer.
El-Heni was released yesterday after the National Union of Tunisian Journalists paid his bail. He is a former member of the union’s executive committee.
El-Heni is the latest of several journalists to be arrested, including Mehrezi and Zouhair El-Jiss, who was detained after speaking to a guest who accused President Moncef Marzouki of receiving money from the Al Jazeera television channel.
Multiple advocacy groups, including Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch, have issued statements on the recent prosecution of journalists.
“There has been disturbing increase in prosecutions of journalists and public figures, and this just took the already considerable tension up another notch,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement today.