The former President’s interview with a national television station has been pulled from broadcast following pressure from the offices of the current President, Moncef Marzouki’s party has claimed.
Former President of the Republic and leader of the political party, Tounes Al Irada, Moncef Marzouki’s interview on Attessia TV’s, Dhayf Attesia (The Guest of Attesia) which had been recorded last Saturday was prevented from being aired yesterday at its usual slot of 9pm, after what Marzouki’s supporters claim was pressure from both the Presidency and members of the new government.
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, Marzouki claimed that pressure had been exerted on the TV channel in order to prevent it from broadcasting the interview. In the post, Marzouki warned of the diplomatic consequences of any suggestion of censorship, saying “the banning of the interview’s broadcast will impact negatively on the the visit of Beji Caid Essebsi to the United States.” The President will visit New York next week to attend the US-Africa Business Forum as a guest of honor of Barack Obama.
The movement Tounes Al Irada party also issued a statement denouncing the attack on press freedom and the alleged pressure they claim had come from the Presidency of the Republic and members of the government in order to prevent the airing of the interview.
During a press conference earlier today at the party’s headquarters, General Secretary of Tounes Al Irada, Adnen Manser told reporters that the interview didn’t include any names or secretes about the government, but mainly concerned the future of the country, and it was “a responsible speech.”
Moreover, Manser described the censorship of the interview and the banning of a former President from expressing his opinion on TV as “a political scandal”. He said that “today is the International Day of Democracy and Beji Caid Essebsi is going to the US in order to celebrate democracy, which is very controversial.”
During his address, Manser claimed that the censorship prevalent under former President, Ben Ali had returned calling upon, “all organisations of the civil society and media to revolt and defend the freedom of press.” He continued, “the press nowadays is not allowed to work freely…we will continue this fight in order to protect democracy and stop the violation of the freedom of speech” Manser added
Speaking to Tunisia Live, Political Analyst, Youssef Cherif said, “we thought that the pressure on journalism has ended after the revolution.” He continued, “censoring the first elected President can’t be forgotten or ignored and this will have very big repercussions.”
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.