Marking World Press Freedom Day, the Union of Tunisian Journalists issued an annual report for 2012 today, concerning the current state of Tunisian media, entitled “Reality of Press Freedom in Tunisia.”
Composed by members of the union’s various committees and branches, the report details the challenges facing the media apparatus in post-revolutionary Tunisia. A major section of the report specifically addresses a litany of transgressions Tunisian journalists have endured since January 14th, 2011.
According to the report, a significant number of Tunisian journalists have been subjected to both physical and verbal abuse by police, politicians, and citizens with official political affiliations. The report stated that incidents of verbal and physical abuse occur, on average, once per week.The report described these attacks as a concerted “campaign against media.”
National political figures, such as Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, were accused of constantly lambasting the media, particularly following the appointment of high-ranking officials within Tunisia’s state-run media network. The report also accused the government of not responding to incidents of assault against journalists with seriousness.
Another section of the report listed journalists who were brought to court for publishing controversial material, such as the cases involving Nessma TV and Ettounisia. The report collected testimony from branches of the union located in Tunis, Sidi Bouzid, and Sfax, as well as the coastal, southwest, and interior regions of the country.
The report was concluded with a list of suggestions proposed by the Union of Tunisian Journalists to the Commission of Rights and Liberties at the National Constituent Assembly. The union’s suggestions primarily called upon the government to uphold freedom of expression and access to information in the forthcoming constitution.