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Stifling the press, Tunisia on footsteps of Algeria

Since Tunisia voluntarily entered into the orbit of Algeria in return for gas, the once Arab Spring success story has gone far in its backpedaling on democracy prompting the UN Human Rights Office to strongly denounce the crackdown on journalists.

Mimicking Algeria, Tunisia has adopted legislations that criminalize independent journalism, stifle criticism of the authorities.

“It is troubling to see Tunisia, a country that once held so much hope, regressing and losing the human rights gains of the last decade,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

“The crackdown earlier this year against judges, politicians, labor leaders, businesspeople and civil society actors has now spread to target independent journalists, who are increasingly being harassed and stopped from doing their work,” he said. “I urge Tunisia to change course.”

Like Algeria, Tunisia is using counter-terrorism legislation to silence independent reporting.

“Since July 2021, the UN Human Rights Office in Tunisia has documented 21 cases of alleged human rights violations against journalists, including prosecutions before civilian and military courts,” Türk said.

“Silencing the voices of journalists, in a concerted effort, undermines the crucial role of independent media, with a corrosive effect on society as a whole,” he said.

Last April, after a series of arbitrary arrests and bogus charges against outspoken reporters, Algeria moved to institutionalize its crackdown on free speech through a law that makes silencing the press a legal process.

Source: North Africa Post